LISS, Johann
(b. ca. 1590, Oldenburg, d. 1631, Verona)

Apollo and Marsyas

c. 1627
Oil on canvas, 58 x 48 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

The early training of Jan Lys (Giovanni Liss in Italy) took place in Amsterdam under Hendrik Goltzius who painted very much in the style of the Italian Mannerists. After attending school in Haarlem, he spent two years in Rome as part of the circle of Flemish artists linked by their admiration of Caravaggio. In 1624 he moved to Venice. All his artistic means, which had once been brilliant and sensual, were now aiming for an effect of hazy vagueness and already seemed to offer a foretaste of the Rococo age. A good example from the very limited output of Lys is Apollo and Marsyas where the cruel event of the Greek mythological subject fades into a feeling of silent, panic-stricken excitement.