|Jean Baptiste Michel after Giovanni Francesco Romanelli
|Published May 1st. 1779 by John Boydell Engraver in Cheapside London.
|Image 190 x 260 mm, Plate 235 x 275 mm, Sheet 295 x 340 mm
A print showing the couple Hercules and Omphale sat side by side, Omphale's arm around Hercules. Winged putti surround the couple, one is spinning yarn and offering it to Hercules.
Wishing to expiate the murder of one of his friends, Hercules consulted the oracle of Apollo, who advised him to enter the service of Omphale, Queen of Lydia. Although Hercules was the son of Zeus and was famed for his invincible strength, he submitted to the tasks the queen devised for him to expiate his crime. Omphale fell in love with Hercules for his strength and physical beauty, and the couple married. This tale, found in both Greek and Roman mythology, is told with a number of variations. It proved a great source of inspiration for French and Italian Mannerist painters.
Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610 - 1662) was a major Italian painter of the Baroque period, celebrated for his use of bright, vivid colours and also for his clarity of detail. Many of his works are on display in the Louvre.
Jean Baptiste Michel (1748 - 1804) was a French printmaker. For several years towards the latter part of the eighteenth century, Michel worked in London for John Boydell.
John Boydell (1719 - 1804) was an English engraver, and one of the most influential printsellers of the Georgian period. At the age of twenty one, Boydell was apprenticed to the engraver William Henry Toms, and enrolled himself in the St. Martin's Lane Academy in order to study drawing. Given the funds raised by the sales of Boydell's Collection of One Hundred Views in England and Wales, 1755, he turned to the importation of foreign prints. Despite great success in this market his legacy is largely defined by The Shakespeare Gallery; a project that he initiated in 1786. In addition to the gallery, which was located in Pall Mall, Boydell released folios which illustrated the works of the Bard of Avon and were comprised of engravings after artists such as Henry Fuseli, Richard Westall, John Opie and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He is credited with changing the course of English painting by creating a market for historical and literary works. In honour of this, and his longstanding dedication to civil duties, Boydell became the Mayor of London in 1790.
Condition: Foxing to sheet, tape residue to verso.