Crusie’s Guide to Art 14

“The Shepherds AT the Tomb of Amyntas” by Baron Pierre-Narcisse Guerin, 1805. I can find no information about this painting, which seems about right since it appears to be Neoclassic piffle, although I think retitling it “The Shepherds in the Tomb of Amyntas Playing Charades” would liven it up considerably. I would like to know why they’re in a tomb. That seems fishy to me. But then again, it’s amazing what straight men will put up with to spend time with attractive women.

I even looked up Amyntas to see if HE was interesting:

“Amyntas (Ancient Greek: Ἀμύντας), Tetrarch of the Trocmi was a King of Galatia and of several adjacent countries between 36 and 25 BC, mentioned by Strabo as contemporary with himself. He was the son of Brogitarus, king of Galatia, and Adobogiona, daughter of king Deiotarus Philoromaeus.”

Yeah, we’re gonna stick with charades AT a tomb.

Posted in Art

15 thoughts on “Crusie’s Guide to Art 14

  1. Where do you find these paintings? It would be interesting to know who paid for that to be painted. There has to be a back story. Unless the painter was bored, and decided to paint this to amuse himself.

  2. I googled it, and apparently the painting is based on the ‘Idyls’ (1756) of the Swiss painter and poet Salomon Gessner (1730-1788). I looked them up, and there is an idyl about the shepherd Amyntas, who saved an oak tree from falling over. For this he was blessed by the tree’s dryad. No mention of a tomb.
    I also found the title as ‘Shepherds AT the Tomb of Amyntas’, which makes more sense, as they are on grass.

    1. I looked a bit further, and Gessner wrote a second lot of Idyls. I found them here in the second volume of his collected works.

      https://digital.lb-oldenburg.de/brandes/content/titleinfo/4922

      On page 36 of the pdf there is an engraving of exactly the same scene as in Guérin’s painting: a woman with a vessel for carrying water, talking to two men seated beside a spring. However, the idyl that follows is called Mycon. The two men are on their way to the temple of Apollo, and it’s terribly hot. Then they come to a lovely place with shady trees and a stream at the foot of a tomb. When a woman comes to fetch water, they ask her whose the tomb is. And she tells them about this wonderful man Mycon, who looked after her when her parents died, and allowed her to marry his son. He also diverted the spring and planted the trees.

      So maybe there was some confusion at some point between Amyntas and Mycon?

  3. Possibly because I’m a mom it looks like too lazy teens being tied by their mother
    Thank you for my morning chuckle

  4. I like the idea of hanging around tombs. I’m more of a cemetery gal, myself, but that’s the US for you: no tombs, but cemeteries have the best views in quaint old New England towns.

    Also, we toured Savannah, Georgia, with a book called something like: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. One old lady character takes thermoses of martinis to the cemetery. We copied her, and it was wonderful.

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