With the help of the gods, Aeneas reaches the Libyan coast (Con auxilio de los dioses, Eneas llega a la costa líbica)
This is the first cloth in the History of Dido and Aeneas series from the collection of Mary, Queen of Hungary, and an aunt of Philip II. The theme represented, taken from book I of the Aeneid,is the tragic moment in which Aeneas and his crew are struck by a tempest threatening their shipwreck as they navigate the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Aeolus sends a tempest
Aeolus sent the winds to make rough sea on behalf of June, the goddess enemy of the Trojans who asked him to sink Aeneas’ ship. “Then come the cries of men and creaking of cables [...] all forebodes the sailors instant death.” (Aeneid, book I)
Aeneas, the founder of the Roman stock, opens his arms in despair and, with the palms of his hands facing up, implores the help of Jupiter and his own mother, Venus. The father of the gods —surrounded by the signs of zodiac and accompanied by the eagle, with the scepter and beams in his hands as symbols of his power— listens to the intercession of Venus while seating on the clouds where the heads of the winds blow.
In the celestial plane, the ethereal half naked bodies of Mercury and Cupid, standing next to the beautiful figure of the goddess, contrast with the exhausted crew who tries to reach the beaches of Libya, filled with shellfish, by struggling with the waves.
In the Louvre
A preparatory drawing for this scene of Aeneas’ shipwreck by Piero Bonaccorsi, called Perino del Vaga, is kept at the Graphic Arts Department of the Louvre.
The border with vases of flowers, fruits and grotesques bears stylistic resemblance to the ornamental compositions and style of Cornelis Floris. The allegorical figures of the side borders are the feminine personifications of Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the Fates provided with their respective attributes.
The central banner of the top border, flanked by Cupids, has this Latin inscription: NON TERE NEPTVNVS VENTORVM NVMINA. CVIVS / AVXILIO TENCRI LITTVS HABENT LYBYCVM. [Neptune does not tolerate the inference of the winds, and the Trojans reach Libyan coast with his help]
Series History of Dido and Aeneas
1st cloth in the series
Model Cartoonist Perino del Vaga, 1530-1535.
Manufacture Weaver Cornelis de Ronde, Brussels, c. 1545-1555
Fabric Silk and wool
Size 386 x 486 cm
Location Royal Palace of Aranjuez
Origin The collection of Mary, Queen of Hungary, inherited by Philip II.
Exhibition Rooms dedicated to Philip II in the Costume Museum of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, since 1995
National Heritage Inv. 10023448.