Artibus et Historiae no. 38 (XIX)

1998, ISSN 0391-9064

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EDITH WYSS - A 'Triumph of Love' by Frans Francken the Younger; From the Allegory to Narrative

The article investigates a little known painting by Frans Francken the Younger dating most likely from the 1620s. For many figures in the crowded panel the artist relied on prototypes provided by the cycles of illustrations to Ovid's Metamorphoses. However, the general theme of the painting as well as the central motif of Cupid's triumphal chariot do not originate in Ovid's writings but have their source in Petrarch's Trionfi. An examination of the traditional iconography of the Petrarchan "Triumph of Love" highlights Francken's originality. He replaced Petrarch's endless procession of desolate lovers by a plethora of narrative scenes of tragic love affairs as told by Ovid. Francken revitalized Petrarch's didactic allegorical lineup of exempla by calling on the narrative verve of Ovid and his illustrators.

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