Vertumnus and Pomona

Vertumno e Pomona

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Back to Focus:
Author/ School/ Dating:

Antoon Van Dyck (Anversa, 1599 - Londra, 1641)

Technique and Dimensions:

Oil on canvas, cm. 142 x 197


Genova, Musei di Strada Nuova - Palazzo Bianco, inv. PB 2588


From 1889 in the collections by will of Maria Brignole - Sale De Ferrari, Duchess of Galliera

The work, certainly performed in Genoa and dating to around 1625, shows the deep interest of Van Dyck for Venetian painting and Titian in particular.
To create Vertumno and Pomona in fact, the Flemish artist kept in mind a Titian painting seen in a Genoese collection and sketched by him in a notebook. The painting depicts an episode narrated by Ovid in the Metamorphoses: Pomona, a splendid nymph in the woods, spent her days taking care of her garden and ignoring the numerous suitors who presented themselves at her gate to court her.

One of these was Vertumno, who ruled the succession of seasons and had the power to change his appearance. Vertumno, after having taken many forms in vain to win the love of Pomona, finally took the appearance of an old woman with a gentle character and praising her beauty and persuading her of the love that Vertumno felt for her, he succeeded in conquering her.

In this painting Van Dyck treats the theme of the awakening of love with sweetness and captures the poetry of this myth, which is expressed by the soft molded body of Pomona, by the light that caresses the bodies and by the gestures and expressions of the protagonists, marked by measured sensuality. In this work (which at the end of the eighteenth century was in the palace of Giorgio Doria di Montaldeo in Strada Nuova and which was donated in 1959 to the Gallery by Marquis Ambrogio Doria) next to the master is also engaged a collaborator, which the critics identified in Jan Roos, The Still Life in the foreground.