TESTA, Pietro
(b. 1611, Lucca, d. 1650, Roma)

Aeneas on the Bank of the River Styx

Oil on canvas, 158 x 206 cm
Private collection

This painting is one of Pietro Testa's last works. Its story is drawn from Book 6 of The Aeneid. Aeneas, a hero of the Trojan War, deviates from his quest to establish a new kingdom (which would eventually become Rome) because he wants to go down to the Underworld to see his father Anchises, who recently died. Aeneas begs help from the Cumaean Sybil, an oracle of Apollo. In this painting Testa shows the moment when the hero and the Sybil reach the River Styx. Charon, the boatman who ferries the souls across to the Underworld, appears in his barque and is both frightened and angry at the sight of them.

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