Andrea Locatelli (Roma, 1695 – Roma, 1741)
Mercurio e Argo
Oil on canvas, 95×80 cm.
Since the 1820s, Andrea Locatelli, whose style was already considered international, has expanded and sharpened his canvases; the lesson of Dughet and van Bloemen has already been absorbed, and is enriched by its ability to make the natural environment clearer, more balanced, almost as if studied live. The palette becomes lighter, the tones are lighter, the elements clearer. The painter spent almost his entire life in Rome, except for the significant period spent in Rivoli for the Savoy, and his loyalty to the Roman landscape is shown here in all its evidence.
The insertion of mythological figures within the vast natural spaces is typical of much of the artist’s production: here is illustrated the moment when Mercury plays the flute to put the vigilant shepherd Argo to sleep. Behind them is also Io, the nymph transformed by Jupiter into a heifer, which Argos had the task of watching over on the orders of the jealous goddess Juno.
The theme is also addressed by the painter in a famous painting now in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and demonstrate the desire, on the part of the eighteenth-century landscape painter, to use the mythological episode to tell an intimate, discreet tale, totally immersed in the rural environment.
Bibl.: Il Settecento a Roma (catal.), Roma 1959, pp. 144 s.;
Busiri Vici, A. Locatelli e il paesaggio romano del Settecento, Roma 1976.
Our reference: A05023