The Story of Oenone and Paris

Object Details


The Story of Oenone and Paris


Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Italian (Sienese), 1439 - 1501)






Tempera on panel


34 × 17 cm (13 3/8 × 6 11/16 in.)

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This panel features several stories from the turbulent life of the Trojan prince, Paris. The prince's first wife, the nymph Oenone, appears at center, wearing a flowing brocaded gown and carrying a bow. Blessed with the gift of prophecy, Oenone foretold to Paris the dire consequences of his pursuit of the beautiful Spartan queen, Helen. The left-hand side of the panel shows the Judgment of Paris. Here, a reclining Paris hands a golden apple to Venus--one of three bare-breasted goddesses--in exchange for access to Helen. Oenone reappears on the right-hand side, imploring Paris, already mounted on a white horse, not to abandon her. In the distance, Paris, alone on horseback, gallops toward the turreted red walls of a city, possibly Troy, and his fateful future.

Two smaller panels containing full-length figures of Paris and Oenone dressed in armor originally flanked this central panel. These panels comprised part of a cassone, or wedding chest. In the fashion of his native Siena, a center of cassoni production, Francesco di Giorgio Martini decorated many such chests with elaborate mythological tales.

Related Works

Wheelwright Family, by inheritance to Edmund March Wheelwright.

- 1912

Edmund March Wheelwright, 1854 - 1912, by inheritence to Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright, 1912.

1912 - 1943

Elizabeth Brooks Wheelwright, born 1860, sold to Wildenstein & Company, 1943.

1943 - 1961

Wildenstein & Co. (New York), sold to Thomas S. Hyland, 1961.

1961 - 1970

Thomas S. Hyland (Greenwich, Connecticut), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.

Landscapes of Myth (November 5, 2002 to February 2, 2003) (Cat. 10)
  • The Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), November 5, 2002 to February 2, 2003
Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts (March 31 to June 21, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to June 21, 2015

Mather, Frank Jewett. "Two Sienese Cassone Panels." Art in America 2 (1914), pp. 401-3, fig. 2.

McComb, Arthur. "A Cassone Panel by Francesco di Giorgio." Art in America 9 (1923), pp. 102-7, ill.

McComb, Arthur. "The Life and Works of Francesco di Giorgio." Art Studies 2 (1924), p. 19, fig. 18.

Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham. Notebooks, 67 vols., 1924-85, Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, accession no. 870204, vol. 58, p. 221 (Dec. 10, 1970).

Comstock, Helen. "Francesco di Giorgio as Painter." International Studio 89 (April 1928), pp. 31, 34, ill.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: A List of the Principal Artists and Their Works with an Index of Places. 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), p. 202.

Van Marle, Raimond. The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1923-1938), vol. 16 (1937), p. 257.

Buck, Richard D., and George L. Stout. "Original and Later Paint in Pictures." Technical Studies 8, no. 3 (January 1940), pp. 129, 132, fig. 4.

Weller, Allen S. Francesco di Giorgio, 1439-1501 (Chicago: The Univeristy of Chigaco Press, 1943), pp. 115-18, fig. 38.

Fredericksen, Burton B. The Cassone Paintings of Francesco di Giorgio (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1969), pp. 33-34, fig. 22.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Catalogue of the Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1972), p. 16, no. 18, ill.

Bisogni, Fabio. "Risarcimento del 'Ratto di Elena' di Francesco di Giorgio." Prospettiva 7 (October 1976), p. 46n4.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 62.

Toledano, Ralph. Francesco di Giorgio Martini: Pittore e scultore (Milan: Electa, 1987), pp. 30, 96-98, no. 36, figs. 27, 36a-b.

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Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 44, ill. (detail).

Lyons, Claire L. Landscapes of Myth, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), unpaginated, no. 10.

Miziolek, Jerzy. Mity-legendy-exempla: Wloskie malarstwo swieckie epoki Renesansu ze zbiorow Karola Lanckoronskiego (Warsaw: Uniwersytet Warzawski Instytut Archaeologii, 2003), pp. 101-3, fig. 66.

David, Benjamin. "Narrative in Context: The Cassoni of Francesco di Giorgio." In Renaissance Siena: Art in Context. A. Lawrence Jenkens, ed. (Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2005), pp. 134-37, fig. 9.

Zuffi, Stefano. Amore ed erotismo (Milan: Electa, 2008), p. 342, ill.

Zuffi, Stefano. Love and the Erotic in Art. Stephen Sartarelli, trans. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), p. 342, ill.