Gillis Claesz de Hondecoeter
THE MARRIAGE OF PELEUS AND THETIS
Oil on canvas (edges relined). 77 x 120 cm.
Gilis v Valk...
This signed and previously unknown work of Gillis van Valckenborch forms a fine addition to the oeuvre of this artist, who moved to Frankfurt with his father for religious reasons and stayed there until the end of his life. Apart from a trip to Italy in 1590/91, it is not known whether he visited any other places. Gillis was a nephew of Lucas, son of Marten and brother of Frederick van Valckenborch. Whilst these artists mainly concentrated on landscapes with staffage, Gilles' compositions are mainly figural. His partially large-scale paintings are characterised by the same unbelievable abundance of dynamic figures that astounds the observer of this work. Appropriately, the so-called Feast of the Gods is one of his most depicted motifs, the most famous of these depictions is kept in the collection of Count Schönborn-Wiesentheit in Pommersfelden castle.
The scene depicted here is the marriage of King Peleus to the sea-nymph Thetis. All of the Gods were invited to the wedding, except Eris, the Goddess of discord. She appeared nonetheless and, in a fit of rage, threw the famous "apple of discord" among the guests, and the consequences of this action are well known: The dispute among the Godesses, the judgement of Paris and eventually the Trojan war. The motif was painted particularly often by comtemporaries of the artist, for example Hans Rottenhammer, Hendrick de Clerck, Joachim Wtewal, van Balen, Rubens or Jordaens.
Dr. Alexander Wied confirms the attribution to Gillis van Valckenborch.
Private collection, Belgium.