Ixion Plunged into Hades

Ixion Plunged into Hades

History paintings

Bound remorselessly to a wheel by snakes, Ixion, son of the king of the king of the Lapiths of Thessaly, writhes in pain. A rejected suitor of Juno, he has been condemned to eternal suffering. Using a sombre, heavy-impasto palette of black and dark red, Delaunay powerfully conveys the tragic implications of the scene.

The museum also has a number of preliminary drawings of this work, which was shown at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1876 (catalogue no. 600). Another version of the painting is to be found in the museum in Hamilton, Canada. Interestingly, we can see the retouchings on the arms and legs already indicated in one of the museum's preliminary drawings.

Preliminary drawing

This preliminary drawing hints at the painter's intentions, with Delaunay capturing the movements of the victim on his wheel in the ongoing separation of the hand movements. Ultimately he opted for showing Ixion's right hand clutching the snake in a last embrace before it bit him.

Ixion Plunged into Hades
Oil on canvas
114 x 147 cm
S.D.B.L: J. Elie Delaunay/1876
Inv. 918