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The Age of Bronze

PIETRO da CORTONA, (Pietro Berrettini) (1596 - 1669)

[image: The Age of Bronze]

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 83.9 x 62.2 cm

Acquired: 1925; Bequest; Sir Claude Phillips

Accession Number: NMW A 3884

1 comment

Brian Armstrong, 28 March 2013, 23:04

I have not previously seen images of this picture. Not to my knowledge one of the more common mythological subjects for painters, although one of Rodin's most iconic sculptures of his early career was in fact 'The Age of bronze' Interestingly, this in addition to St John the Baptist preaching, were the sculptures, which Rodin was quite outrageously accused of using plaster casts of a model to produce.

The subject is taken from the first chapter of Ovid's Metamorphosis, where he relates the creation of the universe and continues with the Four Ages of man, those being Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron, characterised by the decline from in the Golden period of innocence and abundance eventually to decadence and depravity in the Age of Iron. The narrative can be compared to the story of creation in Genesis.

Returning to Pietro da Cortona, his most flamboyant and arresting work can be seen in his Italian church decoration, one of the finest examples being in the Cheisa Nuova in Rome, where he decorated the dome, tribune and nave

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