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The Entrance of the Wooden Horse into Troy

Artist/Maker: Gillis van Valckenborch (Flanders, ca. 1570-1622)

Date: 1598
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Sight: 49 x 92 in. (124.5 x 233.7 cm)
Framed: 56 1/4 x 99 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (142.9 x 252.7 x 8.3 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Museum purchase through 35th Anniversary Funds
Object number: 85.0024
DescriptionThe Entrance of the Wooden Horse into Troy illustrates one of the most familiar episodes of the Trojan War. In this depiction of the story, the scene of the great horse on wheels being pushed into the city occupies only a small portion of the composition. The rest of the painting is devoted to the sensual activities of multitudes of Trojans who make merry with abandon. Eating, drinking, and playing music, they are wholly unaware of impending disaster, symbolized by the dark storm clouds gathering above the city. Gillis van Valckenborch, like many Northern artists in this period, made a trip to Italy in 1595 where he saw the work of the Italian Mannerists. The impact of this experience on the painter’s style may be seen in the Lowe’s painting in his large animated groups of nude and semi-nude figures; deep plunge into depth from foreground to background; dramatic lighting effects and decorative colors. The composition was inspired by the 1587 engraving of the marriage of Cupid and Psyche by the Dutch Mannerist Hendrick Goltzius.
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