MICHELE ROCCA
PROMETHEUS

MICHELE ROCCA
Parma 1671 – 1751 Venice
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 62.5 cm / 18.3 x 24.6 in

PROVENANCE
Rowley's, Tattersalls, Fine Art Auction, 30 August 2016, lot 1002 (as Venetian or Neopolitan School)

RELATED LITERATURE
E. Debenedetti, C. Pergoli Campanelli, 'Un punto su Michele Rocca', in 'Roma il Tempio del vero gusto. La pittura del settecento romano e la sua diffusione a Venezia e a Napoli, atti del convegno' a cura di E. Borsellino e V. Casale, Firenze 2001, pp. 59-66
U. Bocchi, 'Documenti d'arte nel Casalasco-Viadanese', Viadana 2003
G. Sestieri, 'Michele Rocca e la pittura rococò a Roma', Firenze 2004

Nomen est omen or the name speaks for itself, as the ancient Romans said. So, the name of the titan Prometheus comes from the Greek προμανϑάνω, which can be translated as "able to foresee", "prudent".
The legendary Prometheus was the son of the titan Iapetus and Klymene and was the king of Olympus, Zeus, a cousin. Mixing earth with water, Prometheus created the first people, for them he kidnapped and stole fire from Olympus, thereby incurring the wrath of the Thunderer. The king of Olympus ordered Hephaestus to chain Prometheus to the rock of the Caucasus Mountains, and sent Pandora and all the misfortunes associated with her to people as punishment. Chained Prometheus was doomed to incessant torment - a giant eagle daily pecked out his liver, which he, an immortal, grew back. Only many years later, Prometheus was freed by Hercules and reconciled with Zeus.
The story of the chained Prometheus, which allows the artist to present a vivid emotional plot in which compositional drama is based on the depiction of an athletic male figure in a complex perspective, attracted all outstanding painters of the 16-18 centuries. Titian and Salvatore Rosa, Rubens and Ribera, they all paid tribute to this plot of ancient mythology.
Michele Rocca's painting on this subject in many respects continues the tradition that has developed in European painting, but at the same time has a number of new features. Unlike the monumental canvases of its predecessors, Rocca's painting is a chamber object, it is made under the influence of a new aesthetics, the rococo style that was emerging at that time.
This painting was very popular. There are at least three versions of this work - one of the works took place at the Finarte auction on May 19, 2007, in it we also see in the right corner of the figure of two soaring Cupids, the second appeared on Christies on December 7, 1999, the third, reproduced in the monograph by Giancarlo Sestieri , 'Michele Rocca e la pittura rococò a Roma' is known only from an old photograph.

Wladyslaw MAXIMOWICZ


Epoque: XVIII century

Genre: Allegory

School: Italian

Base: Canvas

Technic: Oil

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