THIVAERT, Daniel Janszoon
(b. ca. 1613, Amsterdam, d. 1657, Amsterdam)

Silvio and Dorinda

Oil on canvas, 43 x 55 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Silvio and Dorinda was a pair of lovers from the pastoral play Il Pastor Fido, The Faithful Shepherd, by the Italian poet Guarini (1538-1612). Dorinda, disguised as a shepherd and wearing a wolf's skin, was accidentally slain by Silvio when he was out hunting. The subject is found in northern Baroque painting and shows Dorinda lying in the arms of the old servant Linco. Silvio kneels beside her, offering an arrow to Linco, at the same time baring his breast, since he has no further wish to live.

Thivaert was a Dutch Italianate painter in Amsterdam who probably spent some of his productive years in Italy, enthralled by the Italian landscape. In his version of the subject, the landscape, painted with a light hand, is more than a showy background stage setting. Its emotional content serves as the setting for a mythical and poetic event. There is sufficient movement and pathos in the extended vista so that the asymmetrical placement of the Guarini episode does not upset the balance of the composition.