LA HYRE, Laurent de
(b. 1606, Paris, d. 1656, Paris)

Theseus and Aethra

Oil on canvas, 141 x 118,5 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

This is a representation of Plutarch's story in which, in the presence of his mother, the young Greek hero Theseus finds the swords and sandals his father Aegeus has buried under a heavy stone. Seventeenth century French masters often chose to depict some fairly recondite theme from the Graeco-Roman history or legend, and La Hyre, a popular artist of the period, excelled in paintings of this kind.

The painting was commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 3 minutes):
Jean-Baptiste Lully: Theseus, overture