The fall of the giants, Jordaens

The fall of the giants, Jordaens
The fall of the giants, Jordaens

The small hunting lodge of Felipe IV located on the outskirts of Madrid, very close to the Palacio del Pardo, and which the monarch named Torre de la Parada was, without a doubt, one of the main decorative projects of the European baroque. To decorate the rooms of the small pavilion, the monarch commissioned more one hundred and twenty canvases from some of the most outstanding artists of the moment, both Spanish and international.


Precisely the Flemish painter Pedro Pablo Rubens had become one of the king's favorites and it was from him that he commissioned a good number of these paintings; so much so that the painter could not carry out such a commission by himself or with the help of his workshop, so he chose to relegate the commission to some painters he trusted, such as Jacob Jordaens.

The work we are analyzing here is an oil on canvas en titled The Fall of the Giants, dating from between 1636 and 1637 and we are talking about a large canvas with a horizontal format that measures about two hundred and eighty and five centimeters wide and a little over one hundred and seventy high. Actually, we shouldn't talk about an authorship by Rubens or Jordaens but rather, a collaboration between the two; Rubens was the one who designed the sketch and the composition of the work, so Jordaens' creative freedom was very inhibited. For a long time it was doubted whether the work belonged toone or another author.

Thematically we are facing a mythological episode that Ovid narrates in his Metamorphoses, giants were confined to live underground and aspired to possess the kingdom of the gods in the darling. One day they decided to rebel against their destiny and began to pile up stones in order to reach Olympus and dethrone the gods. Zeus, father of the gods, launched a thunderbolt against the mountains of stones of the giants that ended up collapsing and crushing the insurgents. The blood of the giants bathed the land of men.

Regarding the composition we find ourselves before a very baroque work, the artist has chosen the moment of maximum tension to be represented and in it the figures bend and twist in impossible postures and foreshortenings marking the musculature of the characters and referring to some Renaissance works by Michelangelo.

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