Dosso Dossi (c.1486-1542) was a Renaissance painter from the city of Ferrara in Northern Italy. Collaborating with his brother Battista, Dosso created some of the most groundbreaking yet baffling works for the dukes of Ferrara. Dosso’s paintings, however, remained largely unheard of apart from occasional appearances in academic journals, until a series of traveling exhibitions in 1999 brought the artist back in attention. Heavily influenced by High Renaissance masters Leonardo and Michelangelo, as well as by Venetian painters, Dosso adopted a rich yet still subtle colour palette. What set him apart from his peers, on the other hand, were his atmospheric and “impressionistic” landscape …show more content…
Based on the luxurious clothing and elegant attire, some have even suggested the female is in fact Flora, the goddess of flowers and the season of spring, as depicted in Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera. (Fiorenza, 152-159)
Subsequent to the 1999 exhibitions, deeper readings into the painting have emerged. Jupiter, Mercury, and Virtue has become the universal title since the exhibitions and remains the official name at its current location of Wawel Castle in Krakow, Poland. According to Giancarlo Fiorenza, the silencing gesture by Mercury is evocative of his counterpart in Greek mythology, Hermes, the god of eloquence. During the Renaissance, scholars including Boccaccio claimed Mercury as a wind god, which justifies the gusty winds around him that sends his green cloak mid-air. In contrast to the dynamism of Mercury and Virtue, Jupiter, the ruler of the gods, appears to be painting butterflies, a reference to his control over nature, in his own tranquil world.
Even the immaculate and ethereal background is meaningful to the narrative. The impressionistic landscape, transforming from a spring rainstorm to a misty summer day from the right to the left, is highlighted by a dazzling rainbow directly above Jupiter’s painting. The landscape not only serves as a backdrop to fill in the void, but also evokes the narrative aspect of the painting, along with the brilliantly positioned figures: the kneeling Virtue, whose ornamental