Joseph Mallord William Turner
Mercury Sent to Admonish Aeneas exhibited 1850

Artwork details

Mercury Sent to Admonish Aeneas
Date Exhibited 1850
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 902 x 1206 mm
frame: 1297 x 1605 x 196 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

The first of four pictures telling the story of Aeneas's stay at Carthage, delayed from his destiny in Italy by his love for Dido, which were Turner's last exhibits at the Royal Academy, and of which three now survive. They are his final reconsiderations of the classic style of Claude. Here, Aeneas stands on the left in his cloak of Tyrian purple, attended by Cupid. Mercury, who according to Turner's accompanying lines from his manuscript poem Fallacies of Hope 'waited to tell him of his neglected fleet' is not discernible, having perhaps melted into thin air as Virgil's story describes.

August 2004

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