DETAIL : Joseph-D�sir� COURT born Rouen 1797 � Paris 1865 Woman Lying on a Divan 1829 Painting Oil on canvas
 
Jean RANC | Vertumnus and Pomona
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RANC, Jean
Montpellier 1674 – Madrid 1735
Vertumnus and Pomona
[Vertumne et Pomone]
c. 1710-1720
Painting
Oil on canvas
171.0 (h) x 119.0 (w) cm
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Vertumnus and Pomona is undoubtedly Jean Ranc’s greatest work. This beautiful painting depicts the effort of the god of gardens and orchards, Vertumnus, to woo the notoriously indifferent goddess of fruit trees, Pomona. Disguised as an old woman, Vertumnus lures Pomona into his trust with the story of a suitor who commits suicide, traumatised by the lack of attention from a beautiful, but intractable woman.

The work was painted by the Montpellier-born artist shortly before his departure for Spain, where he developed a successful, life-long career as a portrait painter. Ranc’s training as a portrait painter is certainly apparent in the delicate treatment of the faces of his subjects and, more so, in the exquisitely rendered fabrics. The painting is also significant for the manner in which it presents a mythological narrative and its moral subtext in an entirely contemporary manner, as indicated in Pomona’s radiant, silky dress and parasol.

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