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Nessus Carrying off Deianeira

Artist: Hans Makart
(Salzburg 1840 – 1884 Vienna)

Date: ca. 1880
Medium: oil on wood
Dimensions: 142.5 x 93 cm
Classification: painting
Inventory Number: 100.B
Department: Department of Art after 1800

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Nessus Carrying off Deianeira

For this picture Makart, a painter celebrated throughout Vienna, took over one of the right-hand detail motifs from his monumental Bacchus and Ariadne (Österreichische Galerie, Vienna), painted in 1873-74. The compositional idea of the centaur carrying the young woman on his shoulder is repeated almost without modification, but is placed into a different iconographical context. Nessus preparing to carry off Deianeira, the wife of Hercules, is a prominently emphatic motif in a composition rendered with Baroque structure and dynamism, while Hercules coming to the woman's defence appears as a statue-like figure in the background.