Colnaghi Collections_Vol 01 - Page 159

Antwerp, 1581 – 1642
Antwerp, 1564 – 1635
A Landscape with Theseus and Achelous, with
the Triumph of Poseidon and Amphitrite Beyond
Oil on panel
72 x 157 cm
Signed lower left :Do FFRANCK. IN.E.F.
And inscribed ’Tesevs’ and ’Acholaus’ on the robes of the seated diners
The mythological scene depicted here is identifiable through
Denaft Collection, Antwerp, 1753; Earl of Amherst Collection; with
inscriptions on the robes of two of the two principal figures, which
Galerie Finck, 1962; Vittorio Duca Collection, Milan; sold, Sotheby’s,
read “Teseus” and “Acholaus.” Theseus, son of the king of Athens,
London, 12th December 1973, lot 29; Private Collection, Madrid.
was a celebrated Greek hero, best known as the slayer of the Cretan
Minotaur. Achelous was a Greek river god who famously defeated
Francine-Claire Legrand, Les Peintres flammands de genre au XVIIe siècle
Heracles in battle. The story of the encounter between these two is
(Brussels: Meddens, 1963), p. 252; Matias Diaz Padron, “Frans Francken II
recounted by the Roman poet Ovid; when Theseus and his men,
en la catedral de Sevilla – Algunas consideraciones a su obra en España,”
were overtaken by floodwaters of the Achelous, (one of the largest
Goya 129 (1975): p. 174, illus; Ursula Härting, Studien zur Kabinettbildmalerei
rivers in Greece), the river god invited them to a grand feast to
des Frans Francken II (1581-1642) (Hildesheim and New York: Olms, 1983),
pass the time till the waters receded (Metamorphoses, VIII, 547-573).1
no. A220, fig. 83, as Frans Francken II, Joos de Momper II, and Jan
The painting represents the Greek warriors, mingling and feasting
Brueghel I; Klaus Ertz, Josse de Momper der Jüngere (1564-1635) (Freren: Luca
Verlag, 1986), pp. 400-401, fig. 509, and p. 594, no. 476, as Frans Francken
II, Joos de Momper II, and Jan Brueghel II, ca. 1620s; Ursula Härting,
Frans der Jüngere (1581-1642). Die Gemälde mit Kritsichem Oeuvrekatalog (Freren:
with gods by the seashore. Sheltered by a cool shady grotto, they
are entertained by slender, barefoot young women, who serve cool
wine from jeweled carafes, as well as oysters, fowl, and pastries.
Luca Verlag, 1989), pp. 148-149, fig. 124; p. 158, fig. 135; and p. 316, no.
299, as Frans Francken II, Joos de Momper II and Jan Brueghel II.
Mostra Internazionale dell’Antiquariato, Florence, 1963; Primitifs flamands
et Maîtres du XVIIe au XIXe siècles, exh. cat. (Brussels: Musées Royaux des
Beaux-Arts, 1965), illus.; Le siècle de Rubens, exh. cat. (Brussels: Musées
In the landscape and sea view on the right, the artist introduces
the triumphal procession of the sea god Neptune and his wife
Amphitrite, with a swarm of fantastical sea creatures, horses,
cupids, and nymphs. This depiction influenced subsequent Flemish
artists, who created numerous variations on the composition.2 The
Royaux des Beaux-Arts, 1965), p. 84; Pedro Pablo Rubens (1577-1640)
subject was also a favourite of Francken and his workshop, as
Exposición Homenaje, exh. cat. (Madrid: Palacio de Velázquez, 1977-1978),
indicated by the great number of surviving treatments; the earliest
p. 59, illus. p. 206, as Frans Francken II and Joos de Momper II.
extant painting of this group of sea triumphs is dated 1607.3


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