“Forge of Hephaestus”, Giorgio Vasari – description of the painting

"“Forge of Hephaestus”, Giorgio Vasari – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Forge of Hephaestus – Giorgio Vasari. 1564. Oil on copper. 38×28 cm
Giorgio Vasari’s painting “The Forge of Hephaestus” has another title “Forge of the Volcano”. Two names are completely equal, because we are talking about the same mythological character, the Greek god of fire, the patron saint of the blacksmithing Hephaestus, called in mythology by the Romans Vulcan.

This picture is quite complicated and narrative. One cannot help but see that the multi-figure painting was made by Vasari at a certain pace, leading the viewer into the interior of the work.

The plot is following: Minerva came to the forge to Hephaestus, so that he would forge her armor. In the hands of her sketch drawing, which she points to the blacksmith. Hephaestus himself is busy with a shield, and assistants carry the famous helmet of Minerva (among the Greeks Athena). The goddess is written in the nude genre, like other characters in the picture. Curved postures of people – the corresponding silhouette of mannerism, which includes Vasari’s work.

Work is seething behind the gods – metals are melting, furnaces are burning, hammers are knocking. A careful look will catch the incorrectness in the image of the human body, and will be right. Vasari scolded a lot for anatomical inconsistencies. In general, he himself can be seen very closely – it is he who sits naked near the shield. Another real character is standing at the anvil with a hammer, so Makar Vasari portrayed his own contemporary, architect, painter and jeweler, Benvenuto Cellini.

The work has a hidden meaning – it was written as a response to a political event: in one thousand 500 sixty-four years, patrons of Vasari, representatives of Medecha, Cosimo and Francesco were tried. On the shield of Athena, you can see the image of Capricorn and Aries, and these are the signs of the zodiac Cosimo I and Francesco I, respectively.

The painting, painted in copper oil, was exhibited at the Uffizi Gallery in one thousand 500 eighty-nine years, since then it has not changed its “residence permit”."

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