10/09/16 Aggiornato il:

Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain / Narciso alla fonte, c. 1500-1510



Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain,
Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Description: Narcissus at the Fountain;
Painted: shortly after 1500;
At the Uffizi: since 1894;
Author: Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (1467-1516);
Framework: Tempera on wood, 19x31;
Located in: The Correggio Room, Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain,
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, (detail)
Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London

There is a London-based copy, attributed to a follower of Boltraffio, where you can also see the water basin in which the young man reflected.

In Greek mythology, "Narcissus" fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. It is unusual for him to be given modern dress and for the pool to be a raised basin. The painting may be a poetic portrait and the pool an afterthought.
The type of effeminate male beauty, the loose curls and the distant lake are all derived from the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio was Leonardo's main pupil in Milan. | © The National Gallery, London

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)


Wiki /In Greek mythology, Narcissus (Greek: Νάρκισσος, Nárkissos) was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. He was the son of the river god Cephissus and nymph Liriope. He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him.
Nemesis noticed this behavior and attracted Narcissus to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance.
Several versions of the myth have survived from ancient sources. The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses (completed 8 AD); this is the story of Echo and Narcissus. One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him.
Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted "Who's there?".
Echo repeated "Who's there?".
She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, learned of this story and decided to punish Narcissus. She lured him to a pool where he saw his own reflection. He didn't realize it was only an image and fell in love with it. He eventually recognized that his love could not be reciprocated and committed suicide.
An earlier version ascribed to the poet Parthenius of Nicaea, composed around 50 BC, was recently rediscovered among the Oxyrhynchus papyri at Oxford. Like Ovid's version, it ends with Narcissus committing suicide. A version by Conon, a contemporary of Ovid, also ends in suicide (Narrations, 24).
In it, a young man named Aminias fell in love with Narcissus, who had already spurned his male suitors. Narcissus also spurned him and gave him a sword. Aminias committed suicide at Narcissus's doorstep. He had prayed to the gods to give Narcissus a lesson for all the pain he provoked.
Narcissus walked by a pool of water and decided to drink some. He saw his reflection, became entranced by it, and killed himself because he could not have his object of desire. A century later the travel writer Pausanias recorded a novel variant of the story, in which Narcissus falls in love with his twin sister rather than himself (Guide to Greece, 9.31.7).

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)

Follower of Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain
National Gallery, London (detail)


"Il Narciso alla fonte" è un dipinto a olio su tavola (19x31 cm) di Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (Milano, 1467 - Milano, 15 giugno 1516), databile al 1500-1510 circa e conservato nella Galleria degli Uffizi a Firenze.
L'opera mostra chiari influssi leonardeschi, con elementi comuni ad altri colleghi del Boltraffio (come Bernardino Luini o Andrea Solario), che hanno causato spesso difficoltà attributiva. Un giovane di profilo, interpretato come Narciso per il suo guardare in basso, si trova in un paesaggio che ricorda da vicino quello della Vergine delle Rocce.
La bellezza malinconica, lo sfumato morbido e l'ambiguità dei volti sono tutti elementi leonardeschi, trattati però, come avviene nelle opere della scuola, in maniera abbastanza superficiale, tanto che si è parlato anche di un certo "accademismo" leonardesco. Inusuale è il taglio orizzontale dell'opera, forse dovuto a una riduzione del bordo inferiore.

La Seconda copia, la londinese, che si trova presso la National Gallery, London, è stata attribuita ad un seguace del Boltraffio, in cui si vede anche il bacino d'acqua in cui il giovane si riflette. /Wiki



La fonte storica di questa opera è la favola del mito di Narciso tratta dalle Metamorfosi del poeta latino Ovidio (i secolo a.C.), ripreso da numerosi autori medioevali.

Qui conta come Narcis s’innamorò dell’ombra sua

Narcìs fu molto buono e bellissimo cavaliere. Un giorno avenne ch’elli si riposava sopra una bellissima fontana, e dentro l’acqua vide l’ombra sua molto bellissima. E cominciò a riguardarla, e rallegravasi sopra alla fonte, e l’ombra sua facea lo simigliante. E così credeva che quella ombra avesse vita, che istesse nell’acqua, e non si accorgea che fosse l’ombra sua.
Cominciò ad amare e a innamorare sì forte, che la volle pigliare. E l’acqua si turbò; l’ombra spario; ond’elli incominciò a piangere. E l’acqua schiarando, vide l’ombra che piangea. Allora elli si lasciò cadere ne la fontana, sicché anegò.
Il tempo era di primavera; donne si veniano a diportare alla fontana; videro il bello Narcìs affogato. Con grandissimo pianto lo trassero della fonte, e così ritto l’appoggiaro alle sponde; onde dinanzi allo dio d’amore andò la novella. Onde lo dio d’amore ne fece nobilissimo mandorlo, molto verde e molto bene stante, e fu ed è il primo albero che prima fa frutto e rinnovella amore. / Metamorfosi, Ovidio

Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio | Narcissus at the Fountain,
Uffizi Gallery, Florence