Solimena was the most important Neapolitan artist of his generation. The scene represented here comes from The Aeneid, an epic poem written by the Roman poet Virgil. Venus, the mother of the Trojan prince Aeneas, is shown arriving on a cloud with medicinal herbs to help the healer Iapyx treat her son’s wounds. Iapyx is the kneeling figure who holds Aeneas’ leg. This painting is a magnificent example of the kind of heroic scene from history with which the public areas of Italian palaces were adorned in the Baroque era.
Francesco Solimena Venus with Iapyx Tending the Wounded Aeneas About 1695 © Compton Verney
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