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Core Record

Painting Title Landscape with Apollo and Python
Alternative Title Landscape with St. George
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Neyts, Gillis (Flemish painter, 1623-1687)
Date Earliest about 1640
Date Latest about 1650
Signed yes

The painting contains two scenes: to the left Apollo is depicting killing Python; far to the right by the river one may see Apollo with a woman, probably the priestess of the oracle at Delphi. Python was the earth-dragon that presided at the Delphic oracle, which existed in the cult centre for his mother Gaia. He was sent by Hera to pursue Leto, mother of Artemis and Apollo, so Apollo pursued Python in revenge and finally killed the dragon at Delphi. Zeus ordered Apollo to purify himself for the sacrilege by establishing the Pythian Games.

Neyts painted mythological and religious subject matters mostly at the beginning of career, in the 1640s, a date supported by the fact that palace architecture is uncommon in Neyts' later work; similar buildings appear in drawings dated 1650 (one in Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, inv. no. HZ 142, which shows mountain landscape with the Escorial, and the other in the private collection, showing the landscape with the old Brussels' Palace; both drawings reproduced by P. Gustot, p. 148, cat no. D3 and D4).

Current Accession Number YORAG : 54
Inscription front lr 'g. Nyts f.' [?]
Subject landscape; mythology (Apollo and Python); figure
Measurements 25.4 x 38.7 cm
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Passed from the Castle Museum in York 1945.
Provenance Bequeathed by Chaplin Wilkinson, Howden Hall, to the Castle Museum, York 1945.
Publications PREVIEW. City of York Art Gallery Quarterly, 51, July 1960, vol. XIII, pp. 494-495, as 'Landscape with St. George'; York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, p. 80, pl. 72, as 'Landscape with St. George'; PREVIEW. City of York Art Gallery Quarterly, 59, July 1962, vol. XV, pp. 560-562 as 'Landscape with Apollo and Python'; Catalogue Supplement 1974: Amendments and Additions to Catalogue Volumes I and II, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1975, p. 12, as 'Landscape with Apollo and Python; Van de Velde, C. (ed.),Flemish Art in Hungary: Budapest, Bruxelles 2004, p. 44; Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 317 as Landscape with St. George; Gustot, P., Gillis Neyts: un paysagiste brabanc;on en valle;e mosane au XVIIe sie;cle, 2008, p. 40, cat. P3, p. 62.

The signature of YORAG : 54 is is only partially visible because of damage. The painting is a pair to YORAG : 55, Landscape with Venus and Adonis. In the past the set may have contained more than two paintings, as there is another picture by Neyts in a private collection, of a similar size (25 x 33.5 cm) and a very similar composition, showing Apollo and Daphne, sold in London at Sotheby's on 18 September 1997, lot. 310.

Gillis (Aegidius) Neyts was a Flemish painter, but was mostly active as draughtsman. He is recorded in the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke in 1647; it is possible he was a pupil of Lucas van Uden. He spent some time in Holland and France, and perhaps in Italy. After 1665 (when he moved to Namur) his manner became looser than in his early works. In 1676 he travelled to Lille and in 1680 returned to Antwerp.

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



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