Aug 21, 2007

Versailles, Fountain of Enceladus

Versailles, Fountain of Enceladus


Eugène Atget

(French, 1857–1927)

Albumen print, gold toned

Image: 22.5 x 17.8 cm (8 7/8 x 7 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1985.117



Taken in his later campaign of photographing at Versailles during the 1920s, Atget magically--through his ingenuous composition and use of light and shade--captured the pathos and expressive vigor of Gaspard Marsy’s 1675-77 sculpture from a sketch provided by the painter Charles Le Brun. This baroque, gilded metalwork depicts Enceladus, the mightiest of the giants in Roman mythology. Jupiter cast down and crushed the giant under a mound of rock after he dared to attack Mount Olympus to dethrone the gods. Enceladus, vanquished by his temerity and pride, clings to the stones with all the strength of his half-buried body.

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