Thalia and Melpomene

Two Muses, 16th century

Tempera on panelexpand_more

The Putnam Dana McMillan Fundexpand_more  67.28

In Greek mythology, the Muses were the nine goddesses of creative inspiration in the arts, each having her own sphere of influence. One may be Thalia, the Muse of comedy and pastoral poetry, usually shown with a mask and a musical instrument, while the other is likely Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, typically shown with a mask and small horn. Thalia plays a lyre placed on a small altar dedicated to Deo. Max., possibly the sun god, Apollo.

This composition is based on a fresco in the Strozzi Chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella, painted between 1490 and 1504 by Filippino Lippi, a leading Florentine painter. It has been attributed to Niccolò Cartoni, a documented follower of Filippino.

Two Muses
Artist Life
Italian (Florence), early 16th century
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Thalia and Melpomene