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Marriage of Jupiter and Juno

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Marriage of Jupiter and Juno

Artist: Nicola Maria Rossi (Italian, c. 1690–1758)
Culture: Italian, Neapolitan
Date: c. 1720–1730
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
35 x 27 inches (88.9 x 68.6 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Gift of Joseph and Marilyn Sparling
Label Text:Floating in the clouds at the center of a swirling group of winged attendants, the Roman gods Jupiter and Juno are joined in marriage by the young, torch-carrying Hymenaus, god of weddings. Jupiter swoops in from the right, while his bride remains rooted to her seat in the clouds, pressing herself away from him with an outstretched hand. This gesture, along with her fully-clothed body and downcast eyes, all signal her maidenly modesty. In spite of Juno’s shyness, Venus, the goddess of love, triumphs over all and is crowned in the upper right.

Nicola Maria Rossi was a celebrated artist from Naples, Italy whose portraits, religious works, and mythological paintings were popular with nobility throughout Europe. While Rossi’s artistic style significantly changed throughout his career, his works from this period are distinctive for their clarity, pastel colors, and soft brushstrokes. Recent research suggests that this painting was most likely a study for a larger ceiling painting (now destroyed) made for the queen’s bedroom in the Royal Palace in Naples on the occasion of the marriage of Charles, King of Naples and Sicily (later Charles III of Spain), to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1737.
Provenance: Mary Alice (Bibi) Hoover Danziger [1918?-1990], Chapel Hill, North Carolina; bequested 1991 to Joseph Sparling; gift 1994 to Duke University Museum of Art, now Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
Object number: 1994.6.1