The Sorrows of Ossian

The Sorrows of Ossian
  

            The Sorrows of Ossian is actually a painting that apparently has different versions. It has been an arduous search, but I think I have enough information to make a halfway decent commentary of this painting.
The painting above belongs to Károly Kisfaludy, a Hungarian artist. It is an oil on canvas around 1822. The painting below belongs to François Gérard, a French neoclassical painter who painted the picture around 1801, also an oil on canvas. Another name I found the picture is Ossian Awakening the Spirits on the Banks of the Lora with the Sound of his Harp. Although I'm not entirely sure who are these spirits, I think that, according to the legend, could be his Fenian colleagues he missed so much.
The painting refers to the Legend of Ossian of the III century. Ossian was a legendary warrior poet who, according to legend, was among the few mortals to whom was allowed the entrance to Tir Nan Og, one of the islands inhabited by fairies. One day he went hunting, he met a beautiful woman named Niamh, who fell in love with Ossian and invited him to travel with her to the land of Tir Nan Og. Ossian agreed, and together they traveled on horseback to this place. Niamh asked Ossian to liberate one of the damsels of Danann, who had been captured by the sea demon Fornor. Ossian defeated the demon and continued their journey.
Once they arrived at Tir Nan Og, Ossian stood by Niamh for three centuries. But one day he felt a strong desire to return to home and asked Niamh if he might return briefly. Niamh gave him a horse, but warned that under no circumstances his feet should touch the ground of mortals. After this, he went to Ireland. Upon the arrival, Ossian saw that everything had changed, as had passed three centuries, and Saint Patrick had converted to Christianity to the Irish people, ending their traditions and legends. When he was going to help to some men to lift a stone, he fell to the ground, and the horse vanished. Thus, Ossian aged suddenly the three hundred years he spent in the land of fairies and gets blind.
There are several versions of the end, but the most widespread is that the same Saint Patrick found Ossian and took him to his home to care for him during the last days of his life. He tried to convert him to Christianity, but Ossian did not renounced his beliefs, saying he preferred to go to hell, where it would enjoy the company of the Fenians and his father, who both he missed.
About the technical aspects, I think that is a painting of the transition from neoclassicism to romanticism, because although it is seen a reminiscent to the classical canons in the spiritual characters, the paintings has the passion characteristic of Romanticism.


          In conclusion, it is a painting too little known, should be more because it is spectacular. Although the paintings look the same, there are visible differences in the faces of the characters, the harp... although imitation is clear.
The painting of Kisfaludy is in the National Gallery of Hungary. The painting of Gérard I don’t know exactly, since I have found that is in the National Museum of Malmaison in Paris, France, and in the Kunsthalle, in Hamburg, Germany.

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