Thursday, 18 April 2013

Endymion's Sleep

Writing about nocturnes yesterday (scroll down or CLICK) reminded me of arguably the finest nocturne of them all: Anne-Louis Girodet's The Sleep of Endymion (1791). There are two versions. The one in the Louvre in Paris is cropped and dated 1818 (CLICK). Girodet's painting is based on a somewhat hazy Greek myth. Selene, the goddess of the moon, spied the mortal shepherd Endymion asleep in the nude and fell in love with him. She was so entranced by his beauty that she asked her father Zeus to grant him eternal youth. Zeus granted her wish, but put Endymion into eternal sleep. Girodet depicts the myth with a Cupid-like boy with butterfly wings parting foliage to allow Selene as a moonbeam to shine on Endymion.


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