Fine Art
Fine Art | Auction: 14.11.2019 | Preview: 08.11.2019 - 11.11.2019

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Lot 1173

10.000 - 15.000 €
8.000,00 €
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Auction results from: Hans Thoma
Thoma, Hans
1839 Bernau - 1924 Karlsruhe

Apollo and Marsyas. Oil on card. 76 x 100cm. Monogrammed and dated lower left: H.Th.(lig.) 93. Original frame of the artist.

Various sticky notes with numbers on the frame.

Cf. Literature:
Thode, Henry (ed.): Thoma. Des Meisters Gemälde, Stuttgart and Leipzig 1909, p. 258 with ill. Here dated 1886 and with slightly differing measurements.

The competition of Apollo and Marsyas, the hubris of the earthly against the divine, Hans Thoma depicts here in a still quite peaceful phase: The flute-playing Marsyas sitting on the floor, to whom the standing God looks down, is shown as a human being and not as a faun as is often the case. The muses, which according to Ovid should be the judges of the competition of the two musicians, are just as little to be seen as Apollo's instrument, the lyre - although the foot of the tree lying in the shade at night in the centre of the picture comes close to the shape of the instrument.
It seems inconceivable in this Arcadian idyll that the victorious Apollo should later skin the defeated Marsyas as punishment for his arrogance. Hans Thoma obviously knew the famous Renaissance painting "Apollo and Marsyas" by Perugino (now Paris, Louvre) and transferred the scene from daylight to night.

Hans Thoma has created only very few mythical themes several times. The Marsyas theme seems to have had a special meaning for him, because he varied this theme in three very different depictions, whereby the version shown here offers the greatest room for interpretation. If the title of the painting had not been known from Henry Thodes' great Thoma monograph of 1909, Apollo, who is only highlighted by his bright red robe, would probably be regarded as another shepherd listening to the play of the seated man.

Since his first trip to Italy in 1874, Thoma had been friends with the painter Hans von Marees, who in his work, like Thoma in the present painting, transferred mythologically motivated scenes into the universal. Thoma's view of the picture, as well as his dark choice of color with its selective contrasts, clearly reflect his engagement with his friend's work.

Remarkable is the frame designed by Thoma himself, which can also be seen in Tode's picture. In October 1893 Thoma wrote to Henry Thode: "But I painted (...) frames with flowers and arabesques - which don't look bad at all and give the pictures something like a mural. - The gold frames and the stupid carpentry around the pictures becomes more and more an abomination to me." The fact that the date given by Thode (1886) differs from the one in the picture (1893) may be explained by the fact that the picture was revised and dated when it was joined to the frame by Thoma. An editorial error is also possible, because the dimensions of Thode are also slightly different. The picture in Thode's monograph shows the identical complete work of art in frame and painting.

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Hans Thoma   Germany       19th C.   Paintings   Mythology   Painting   Nocturne