(Florence, 1645 – 1711)
The abduction of Helen by Paris
oil on canvas
This painting is an unpublished masterpiece realized in the early maturity by Francesco Botti, likely one of the finest among his many works. The artist, sponsored at baptism by Francesco Furini, was firstly educated in the studio of his father, Giacinto, and then in that of Simone Pignoni. Botti can be considered one of the most appreciated artists of Florence in the middle of the 17th Century.
The abduction of Helen is the episode, coming from the Greek mythology, from which the Troy War and the events narrated in the Iliad and the Odyssey will originate. The scene, set in a soft nocturnal light, represents Paris who is going to take Helen to the ship, docked in the harbour. Although seduced by Paris, she doesn’t appear fully convinced of her choice. The overwhelmed Helen looks back while she’s thinking of paternal pain.
The canvas, in an excellent state of conservation, dates in the early maturity of the artist thanks to the stylistic and figurative way that ca be traced back to his master Simone Pignoni. However, influences by other Venetian and Florentine masters are already noticeable.