Penelope and Her Suitors

Jan Rudolf Bys

Jan Rudolf Bys - Penelope and Her Suitors
The vestal Claudia Quinta was falsely accused of breaking the ritual vows, and to prove her innocence she towed out a ship stranded on the shallows of the River Tiber with her belt. The ship was transporting a precious treasure, along with the sculpture of Goddess Cybele, represented on the right. Its pendant is the scene depicting Penelope, whose long-missing husband Ulysses was taken for dead. The beautiful Penelope was surrounded by suitors, whom she promised that as soon as she finished the shroud for her father-in-law, she would marry one of them. However, at night she always secretly undid the sewing again. The two works are related in the represented theme of female strength, virtue and faithfulness. The compositions show Bys’s eclectic style acquired thanks to his training in several countries, as well. There is a strong influence of the academic painting of Gerard de Lairesse, revealed in the smooth brushwork and refined modelling of the figures. Both scenes present a narrative, complete with costumes, and a number of carefully executed details - particularly the elegant jewels and flowers.
measurements: height 114 cm
width 158,5 cm
material: canvas
technique: oil
inventory number: O 11978
gallery collection: Collection of Old Masters