DROST, Willem
(b. 1633, Amsterdam, d. 1659, Venezia)

Roman Charity

Oil on canvas, 149 x 104 cm
Private collection

Drost's Roman Charity is a remarkable synthesis of the artist's early training in Amsterdam under Rembrandt and the more mature style he developed in Venice, when he came under the direct spell of both Titian and the Italian tenebrist movement made popular by Jusepe de Ribera. His Italian oeuvre reveals a strong affinity for this tenebrist style prevalent in Venice at the time.

Of the examples of 'filial piety' in the literature of antiquity, that of Cimon and Pero was one of the ones that appealed most to artists of the 16th to 18th centuries in Italy and the Netherlands. Valerius Maximus tells of a certain Cimon, an aged man, who was in prison awaiting execution and who was therefore given no food. The jailer allowed Cimon's daughter Pero to visit him. She nourished him by giving him her breast. The scene is a prison cell; the prisoner, manacled, reclines in the lap of a young woman who is suckling him.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.