Domenico Fetti / Adonis
The picture is a signficant work of Italian painting from the collection of European art. An inventory record of 1659 proves that it was part of the collection of the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in Vienna. A decisive factor in Fetti’s oeuvre was his meeting with Ferdinando Gonzaga when the latter was cardial in the painter’s native Rome. When Gonzago succeeded to the Duchy of Mantua in 1613 he took the now renowned painter with him, and Fetti subsequently became the court painter in Mantua and administrator of the Duke’s gallery. At the early age of twenty-four the artist found himself in cultivated surroundings with an ancient tradition. In his mono- graph of the painter, Eduard A. Šafařík suggests that Fetti was inspired by the paintings of Titian. Although the Ostrava Adonis is a three-quarter figure, Fetti was definitely influenced by Titian’s painings on the theme of Adonis. Fetti manages to blend the figures of David and Adonis into a characteristic type. According to the cosmological interpretation Adonis becomes a sun bringing new life. At the time of post-Tridentine recatholicisation the icono- logical connection with Francesco IV Gonzaga is a reaction to a situation that was a tragedy for the Duke’s entire family. It is possible that the work, which was painted after 1613, is a portrait of Francesco and not Vincenzo, who was still alive.