(b. 1682, Napoli, d. 1752, Madrid)

Juno Receiving the Head of Argos

Oil on canvas, 108 x 72 cm
Moor Park, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Juno (Greek Hera) was the chief goddess of Olympus, both the sister and wife of Jupiter (Zeus). Her role in myth and are is principally that of the wife of a faithless husband, always plotting revenge on his many lovers. Her usual attribute is the peacock which was sacred to her in antiquity. In one of the affairs of Jupiter, the giant Argus of hundred eyes was set by Juno to watch over Io, the lover of Jupiter. When Argus was murdered by Mercury, in memory of Argus Juno took his eyes and set them in the tail of her peacock (Met. 1:721-4).

Juno and Mercury, one of four mythologies painted by Amigoni for Moor Park, remains too little idealized, and faintly ludicrous. Imagination has been less exercised than industry; Amigoni's people are real enough to be commonplace - and to feel somewhat at ease when shown sitting on clouds. with Amigoni the rococo remains solid and earthbound.