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Alcmena having, at one birth, brought forth two children, it was difficult to determine in which Jupiter had a particular interest, and, no doubt, Amphitryon, would have been much puzzled to have decided which of the two had a celestial origin, had not an extraordinary circumstance occurred, which revealed the hero whose strength was afterwards to astonish the whole world.

Two serpents, sent by the jealous Juno, glided into the bed where slept both Alcmena's children. Iphicles, having perceived them, fled, uttering cries of fear. Hercules, on the contrary, seized the two reptiles, and grasped them so firmly that he stifled them both. So much strength caused Hercules to be acknowledged as the son of Jupiter.

In this small picture is found all the science which characterizes the master with respect to the designing: the colouring is equally good and of the most vigorous, but it has, in parts, become dim. This reason has appeared sufficient to some persons to attribute the picture to Agostino Carracci, whose colouring was less brilliant than that of his brother Annibale, Height, 8 inches: width 6 inches.


Alcmène ayant mis au monde deux enfans à la fois, il était difficile de savoir auquel des deux Jupiter prenait un intérêt particulier, et Amphitryon se serait sans doute trouvé fort embarrassé pour décider lequel des deux avait une origine céleste, si une circonstance extraordinaire ne fût venue donner occasion de reconnaître celui dont les forces devaient par la suite étonner le monde entier.

Deux serpens envoyés par la jalouse Junon se glissèrent dans le lit où se trouvaient les deux enfans d'Alcmène. Iphiclès les apercevant, se sauva en jetant des cris d'effroi : Hercule au contraire saisit les deux reptiles, et les serra si fortement qu'il les étouffa. Une telle vigueur devait nécessairement faire reconnaître Hercule comme le fils de Jupiter.

On trouve dans ce petit tableau toute la science qui caractérise le maître sous le rapport du dessin; la couleur est également bonne et des plus vigoureuses, mais elle a poussé au noir dans quelques parties: ce motif a paru suffisant à quelques personnes pour attribuer le tableau à Augustin Carrache, dont la couleur était moins brillante que celle de son frère Annibal.

Haut., 7 pouces ; larg., 5 pouces 9 lignes.

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The rarity of John. Van Eyck's pictures is not the only reason that renders them precious: this one particularly shows the great talent of that artist to whom we are indebted for the invention of oil painting. At first sight, this picture might be thought merely to represent a figure of the Virgin with long auburn hair, standing, covered with a large blue mantle, and pressing in her arms the Infant Jesus. It might be imagined that the painter, according to the frequent custom of his age, wished to represent her as the queen of the world, as she wears on her head a crown of jewels, and that she has just arisen from a throne of gold, adorned with red hangings embroidered with green leafing set off with gold: but on examining this picture more attentively, it is perceived that the artist has wished to recal what relates to the Trinity, to the Fall of Man, and to the promised Redemption. Above the gothic ornaments which form a kind of recess, we perceive in the middle, the figure of God the Father, giving his blessing to the Virgin. The Holy Ghost, under the form of a dove, seems coming from the bosom of God. To the right, near a tree, is the figure of Eve, listening to the perfidious insinuations of the Serpent; and to the left, the figure of Adam, whom the Angel is driving from paradise.

Nothing can be more beautiful than the head of the Virgin : in it are combined, resignation to the will of Heaven and maternal tenderness joined to maiden purity. This small picture is painted on wood, and forms part of the Gallery of Vienna: it has been engraved by Berkowetz.

Height, 7 inches; width, 4 inches.

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