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Painting Title Nymphs and Satyrs
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Berchet, Pierre (French painter, 1659-1720)
Date Earliest about 1700
Date Latest possibly about 1720
Description A group of satyrs and nymphs are depicted in the centre of the composition; two children are playing on the left and on the right lies an overturned wine cask. Satyrs are the mythological creatures usually depicted having the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat, sometimes of a horse. They were male companions of Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine. They focussed on achieving physical pleasure: drinking wine and pursuing women; they were often depicted as sexually aggressive towards the nymphs. Nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young maidens. Pierre Berchet, also known Peter Berchett, was trained under Charles de La Fosse; he worked in France and in England for William III, where he also executed ceiling painting for he chapel of Trinity College, Oxford, in about 1694.
Current Accession Number YORAG : 262
Subject mythology; figure; landscape
Measurements 35.5 x 50.8 cm
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Passed from Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, 1889.
Provenance Given by William Monkhouse, Esq., to Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, 1879, as by Peter Berchet.
Principal Exhibitions Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, Summer Exhibition, York, 1879, no. 577 as loaned by Mr. W. Monkhouse; Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, Summer Exhibition, York, 1882, no. 419, as in collection of Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution; Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, Summer Exhibition, York, 1893, no. 175.
Publications York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, p. 101, as acquired in 1879; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 240..
Notes Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution labels on tha back attribute the painting to Peter Berchet, although it is a traditional attribution which does not seem to be correct, judging from the painting's style. Pierre Rosenberg noticed that YORAG : 262 seems to be French, early 18th century (note in Museum files, 17th July 1983).

William Monkhouse (died 1896) was the first actual lithographer to practise in York after his father bought him a press from Haag and Day. In 1840 he set up in Lendal and as business improved he took on Francis Bedford (1816-1894) with whom he collaborated on both Sketches in York and The Churches of York. For some years he was a General Secretary of the Fine Art Institution.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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