Achille in the gynaeceum

 "Achille in the gynaeceum"

Lenght   cm. 30
Spread   cm. 54,5
Sticks      20 plus 2

England around 1740-50

A whole page painted fan in kid skin, mounted according the Englisg style; pearl sticks covered by a golden leaf. The central figures represent 3 women: from the left the Queen of Sciro, then Thetis (?) who indicates the third figure, Achille with feminine dresses. Most of the figures are inserted in a classical environment while on the extreme right there is a very good representation of a camel which suggests an external environment. The dead corners in this page are not decorated despite the refinement of the painting; this could indicate a more precise dating of the painting. The white pearl sticks are partly worked in bas-relief covered by a golden leaf and they are partly fretted. The theme rocaille surrounds the little allegorical scene at the center. On the back, a “ chinoiserie” built in an asymmetrical way, represents branches of wild rose, peonies and flowering peach where a duck flies, on the right two figures, a woman and a man who carries a not recognizable object. Unfortunately this painting at the moment is not reproducible.
We can find the same scene in the fan nr. 009

Mythological note:

Just before the war of Troy, Thetis  in order to save her son, tried to hide him sending him to Sciro, to the court of King Licomede where he was dressed with feminine clothes and he was mixed with the king’s daughters. Once known Achille was hidden here, Ulysses created a very cunning plan to unmask him and he prepared a box of jewels, clothes and other objects for the King’s daughters, and among all these objects there were a sword and a shield; Achille instinctively reacted unmasking himself in front of Ulysses. Synthesis from: Metamorfosi di Ovidio (XIII, 162-170), and  Iliade (I, 345 e ssg.) by Luciana Iacono.
"Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail." Leonardo Da Vinci