The Sons of Niobe Being Slain by Apollo and Diana

Object Details

Title:

The Sons of Niobe Being Slain by Apollo and Diana

Artist/Maker(s):

Jan de Bisschop (Dutch, 1628 - 1671)

Culture:

Dutch

Place(s):

Netherlands (Place created)

Date:

about 1660 - 1670

Medium:

Brown wash over black chalk

Dimensions:

24 x 40.8 cm (9 7/16 x 16 1/16 in.)

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The sons of Niobe, queen of Thebes, flee from the arrows aimed down at them from a cloud by the Greek deities Apollo and Diana. Horses trample the bodies of the dead and dying, while two other sons throw up their hands imploringly on the left. In the story from Ovid's Metamorphoses,Apollo and Diana killed Niobe's seven sons and seven daughters to punish her for being too arrogant.

Jan de Bisschop conveyed the scene's drama through energetic motion and repetition. Using a characteristically Baroque, sweeping horizontal composition, he interwove human figures and horses into a tangled frieze that moves from left to right. An inscription on the back of the drawing shows that the artist based the scene on an antique relief. To create an almost sculptural, two-dimensional impression, de Bisschop used a strong mixture of black chalk and brown wash, creating highlights by letting the bare paper show through.

Exhibitions
17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992, (Cat.)
The Power of Myth: European Mythological Drawings of the 15th through the 19th Century (October 12 to December 26, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 12 to December 26, 1993, (Cat.)
Drawing the Classical Figure (December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009, (Cat.)
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014, (Cat.)