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ITALIAN SCHOOL. 000000orce G. RENI. 00000000-c. FRENCH MUSEUM.
DEJANIRA CARRIED OFF BY THE CENTAUR.
Notwithstanding the grief experienced by Dejanira at the loss of her brother Meleager, she was not however metamorphosed into a bird like two of her sisters, and her great beauty attracted the addresses of several heroes. OEneus, her father, fearing to incur the enmity of her admirers, declared to them they might contest for her, and that she should be the prize of the victor. This singular proposal banished them all, except Hercules and Acheloüs, who, as we have shewn at n° 74, wrestled for Dejanira ; and Hercules coming off conqueror espoused her.
Three years after their marriage, Hercules look Dejanira away with him. Obliged to cross the river Evene, the centaur Nessus offered to help them over, to which Hercules agreed; but, having crossed with his fair burthen , and Hercules being still on the opposite bank, the centaur proceeded to « take li. berties » with the wife of his friend. The hero, not relishing such perfidy, let fly an arrow at his rival, which mortally wounded him.
Guido Reni has ably rendered the emotions that respectively agitate the different personages. The centaur, arriving at the bank of the river, seems already full of his expected bliss ; love and pleasure sparkle in his eyes. Dejanira has penetrated his design; the apprehension of the danger makes her regret she is no longer near Hercules, whom she seems to be calling to her aid. All these emotions are extremely well depicted, but it is to be regretted that the draperies are beavy and without taste.
This picture, which is in the Paris Museum, has been engraved by Bervic; it had previously been so by Rousselet, which engraving is in the king's cabinet collection. Height, 8 feet 6 inches; breadth , 6 feet 3 inches.