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Virgil Suspended in a Basket (Lucas van Leyden)

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Virgil Suspended in a Basket (Lucas van Leyden)

Virgil Suspended in a Basket (Lucas van Leyden)

"Virgil Suspended in a Basket"

Lucas van Leyden - Oil

This print inverts the normal practice of placing the main subject in the foreground. The victim, the first-century BC poet Virgil, is the small melancholic figure seated in the basket behind. Accordding to a late medieval French fable, the Roman poet fell in love with the daughter of Emperor Augustus. Thinking that she shares his passion, he arranged to meet her. On the appointed night, she lowered a basket from her bedroom, but she hoisted him up only halfway and mocked his folly. With morning's light, Virgil's plight was revealed to the Romans. The solidity and immediacy of the figures in the engraving are impressive. Lucas van Leyden favoured a cooler tonality and a narrower range of chiaroscuro contrasts than Dürer.



 
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