Amphitrite and Poseidon

Venetian school, Amphitrite and Poseidon, late seventeenth – early eighteenth century, Breccia di Verona marble, 58 cm x 72.5 cm

Sala dei quadri

Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, 2022

The use of coloured marble is the first thing that catches the viewer’s eye when he sees these two groups of mythological figures, Poseidon and Amphitrite, blown by the wind, resting on a sea monster and accompanied by a nereid and a triton blown into a shell.

The iconographic repertoire of these two allegories was not chosen at random but rather to express a political message: that of maritime power. Monumental in scope, the two sculptures were to be viewed frontally so as to serve as ornaments within a Venetian palace, as mounting holes visible at the back suggest. Although the use of this unusual hard and fragile marble, which requires a great deal of effort and mastery of the chisel and then laborious polishing by abrasion, does not allow these two works to be attributed with precision, their ambitious Baroque style tinged with classicism certainly shows they belong to the Venetian school of the second half of the seventeenth century.