neptune-painting

Now attributed to Simon Vouet (1590-1649), this painting and its companion (Diana and Endymion) were purchased by William Randolph Hearst at auction in 1921 as works of art by Jean-Baptiste van Loo ( 1684-1745), whose name appears on the label on their frames. Neptune, god of the sea and creator of the horse according to classical mythology, is shown here in his chariot, turning back to look toward a woman who might be his wife, Amphitrite, a sea-nymph.    These paintings might have been commissioned in 1630-1631 by Antoine Ruzé d’Effiat, a high-ranking French aristocrat, for the château de Chilly.  He commissioned 23 paintings from Vouet for the long gallery in the château.  Among them, according to the traveller Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d’Argenville (1768), was a painting of Neptune and Amphitrite – and a painting of Diana and Endymion.  They might be the very same pictures installed together in the ceiling of the South Upper Duplex in Hearst Castle.  The château de Chilly was sold in 1804 and progressively dismantled.  No definite documentation about the destiny of the 23 paintings that had been there has emerged