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Apollo and the Seasons
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Charlotte Jackson Baldwin
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Apollo and the Seasons
c. 1768
Oil on canvas
121.9 x 170.2 cm
48 x 67 in.
57.46
P164A
Apollo is seen sitting to the left playing his lyre on Mount Olympus, raising his right hand towards the Seasons or Horae, four female figures who dance in a circle to right. Two cherubs sit blowing bubbles nearby, in a landscape with an overgrown temple to theright, a river running through the centre, mountains in the background and a square tower on the left bank in the middle ground.
Christie's London 31 July 1939 (203); with Frank T. Sabin, London; with Leggatt Brothers, 30, St James's Street, London, S.W.1., 1953; Mrs Charlotte Jackson; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1957
Based loosely on a passage from the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. The subject was popular with classical landscape painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. Apollo, god of the Sun, plays his lyre while the four Seasons dance to the music.
D146 Father Tiber, The British Museum (1881,0212.44)
E24 Earlom after Wilson, Apollo and the Nymphs, Royal Academy of Arts, London
E24A Earlom and Sayer after Wilson, Apollo and the Nymphs, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
E24B Earlom after Wilson, Apollo and the Nymphs, The British Museum
E47 Woollett and Pouncy, after Mortimer after Wilson, Apollo and the Seasons, The British Museum
E47A Woollett and Pouncy after Wilson, Apollo and the Seasons, Royal Academy of Arts, London
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On his return from Italy to England in 1757, Wilson quickly became the preeminent British painter of the classical landscape. Apollo and the Seasons provides an early example of the picturesque landscape tradition in England. In such works, the genres of landscape and history painting overlap in a way that validates an aesthetic response to nature through nostalgic references to classical literature and mythology. The inclusion of a ruined temple bathed in golden light heightens these literary associations.
WGC, pp. 93-4, 96, 167, pl. 26b (version 2); Connoisseur, May 1953