(b. ca. 1640, Venezia, d. ca. 1685)

Jupiter and Mnemosyne

Oil on canvas, 118 x 153 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

On the starry bluish globe Mnemosyne of the Greek myth, with her back to the viewer, receives Jupiter who descends in the form of an eagle: according to mythology, the Muses were born of this union. The narrow, horizontal form and the fact that the scene is viewed from below suggest that this rare representation must have originally formed part of an overdoor decoration in a palace of Venice or its environs. Conforming faithfully to 17th-century traditions, Liberi relied for effect on strong contrasts: the huge, formidable, dark bird and the tenderly coloured, delicately pale pink female nude; his forms are plastic, the construction of the picture with the diagonal position of arms and legs shows typical Baroque animation.