Artemis and the Sleeping Endymion

Date: 1917
Media: Oil, silver and bronze on canvas
Dimensions: 90 x 90 cm (tondo in square)
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Bequeathed in 1985 by Boris and Kira Okunev, Leningrad
Nikolai Kalmakov, Artemis and the Sleeping Endymion, 1917


The garish effects and spicy tones of this painting are encountered in many of Nikolai Kalmakov’s works on themes from Greek mythology. Artemis and the Sleeping Endymion was painted in 1917 and combines features from both the Neoclassical Revival and Art Nouveau, with its tendency for overt decorativism.

Kalmakov depicts the moment when the virgin huntress Artemis is entranced by Endymion, the handsome shepherd whom Zeus has consigned to eternal sleep because of his love for his wife Hera. The mystics of love permeate the complex composition and the masterly rhythm of the forms, lines and ornamental pattern.

Version: Endymion (circa 1913, whereabouts unknown)

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