Museums and Art

“Danae”, Jan Gossaert (Mabuse) - description of the painting

“Danae”, Jan Gossaert (Mabuse) - description of the painting

Danae - Jan Gossaert (Mabuse). 114 x 95 cm

According to Greek myth, Danae was imprisoned by her father Acrisius in the tower so that she would never have a son. But Zeus, the god of heaven, captivated by the beauty of the girl penetrates her through the roof of the dome with golden rain. This plot formed the basis of the work performed by Jan Gossart in 1527.

In the painting, Mabuza Danae is one of the first images of mythological heroes in Dutch painting, where even mention of her had not been seen before. Why is the artist interested in this topic?

Probably because of his love for Italy. After all, Mabuse traveled extensively in Italy and it was there that he learned about Danube and generally about the brilliant Italian artists, their masterpieces of art, architecture, which made a huge impression on the Flemish Jan Gossart.

What the viewer immediately draws attention to is the amazing colors that the author uses. Princess Danae's ultramarine robe is combined with the bright blue of the sky visible in the openings of the tower. The red pillow on which the girl sits echoes with marble, shiny, smooth columns ending in elegant capitals above.

From gray stone, Italian medieval buildings outside the tower, without people and without any vegetation, emphasize the loneliness of the girl sitting in the middle of this richly decorated balcony.

The artist gives the whole composition a certain eroticism, portraying a girl whose gaze is turned upright with passion, with bare chest and legs. The mantle slipped from her shoulders, but she does not notice this and enthusiastically catches the golden rain by the hem of her dress, it flows and shimmers, creating a warm aura around Danai, enveloping her.

Mabuse managed to convey the intimacy of the moment, while retaining the chastity of the entire plot composition. Subsequently, Danae became the most popular mythological character of many generations of artists, and the prerequisite for this was a magnificent painting by Jan Gossart (Mabuse).


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