Diomedes Devoured by Horses

Object Details

Title:

Diomedes Devoured by Horses

Artist/Maker(s):

Gustave Moreau (French, 1826 - 1898)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

1866

Medium:

Watercolor over graphite

Dimensions:

21.4 x 19.7 cm (8 7/16 x 7 3/4 in.)

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As the shadowy figure of Hercules observes from between two columns in the background, four wild horses rip apart the slender body of King Diomedes. The brown mare fastens her teeth on his arm, while another sinks her jaw into his leg. Bodies of the horses' previous victims lie piled to the right, above a pool of blood-stained water. This scene shows the dramatic climax from the eighth labor of Hercules, who was ordered to capture the four flesh-eating horses belonging to King Diomedes. Hercules killed the king in battle and fed his body to the horses, which tamed them. Gustave Moreau's fascination with violent, emotionally charged subjects portrayed in jewel-like colors typifies mid-1800s French painting. Here Moreau's luminous and delicately applied watercolor washes enhance an already dramatic scene, highlighting the vertical body of the doomed Diomedes, whose extended, stretched limbs repeat the dynamic rearing motion of the brown horse's front legs. In calm contrast, Hercules rests in the background, silhouetted against a blue sky subtly rendered with light patches of wash.

Provenance
1869

Galerie Brame

Charles Hayem (Paris)

Emmanuel Berl (Paris)

Private Collection (Paris)

Private Collection (France)

November 23, 1992

Hôtel Drouot, lot 24

Exhibitions
Recent Additions to the Drawings Collection (August 3 to October 1, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 3 to October 1, 1999
Gustave Moreau: Diomède dévoré par ses chevaux (March 27 to July 3, 2000) (21)
  • Musée des beaux-arts (Rouen), April 2 to July 3, 2000
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001) (21)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
The Prismatic Palette: Four Centuries of Watercolors (October 5, 2004 to January 2, 2005) (21)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 5, 2004 to January 2, 2005
Defining Modernity: European Drawings 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007) (21)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014) (21)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014
Related Media
  • /
    Audio: Diomedes Devoured by Horses (Exhibit: GODS_AND_HEROES)