Divided painting rejoined after centuries
NEW YORK ” An important painting by a prominent French artist has been reunited in one frame for the first time since it was sliced into two pieces in the 18th century.
The sections of Nicolas Poussin’s painting ” separately titled “Landscape with a River God” and “Venus and Adonis” ” were joined Friday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The 1625-27 painting will be on view there as part of a Poussin exhibition from Tuesday through May 11.
“Landscape with a River God” has been on extended loan to the Met since 1991; the companion piece belongs to the Musee Fabre in Montpellier, France. They have been displayed together in various shows during the last decade, but they have not been in a single frame since at least 1771, The New York Times reported.
Poussin, who lived from 1594 to 1665, painted subjects from ancient history, classical mythology and the Bible, and also enjoyed an impressive command of landscapes, according to the Met.
The divided painting, originally crafted for an Italian patron, sets a scene from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” against the backdrop of Mount Cavo, near Rome. It was included in the patron’s family’s inventories under the name “View of Grottaferrata” until at least 1741.
It originally measured about 80 inches wide by 30 inches tall, and apparently was cut in two by 1771, according to the Times.
“It was probably easier to sell as two paintings rather than one,” said Pierre Rosenberg, the director emeritus of Paris’ Louvre museum, who organized the New York show with Keith Christiansen, the Met’s curator of European paintings.
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