Neoclassical print after an old master drawing of Phaeton–the son of Helios, the sun god–driving his father’s chariot. Because he was born a mortal, Phaeton lived on earth. Upon discovering the identity of his father, he aspired to one day take his place. He asked his father if he could drive the chariot. Helios warned that it would be impossible for Phaeton to control the wild horses. Phaeton disobeyed Helios and drove the chariot through the skies. Losing control of the chariot, he caused a disturbance among the creatures of the earth. Zeus ended Phaeton’s foolishness by killing him with a lightning bolt.
Paolo Farinati was an Italian painter, draftsman and designer based in Verona, where he completed numerous commissions for paintings, frescoes and altarpieces on religious, mythological and allegorical themes in villas, churches and palaces. He also was commissioned to decorate the cathedral in Mantua, where he absorbed the influence of Giulio Romano, Veronese and Michaelangelo. His numerous chiaroscuro drawings on tinted paper were a significant part of his oeuvre, and he often used them to plan his paintings. Very soon after his death, they became collector’s items, and are currently in the collections of museums around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Getty Museum and the Albertina Museum in Vienna.
“Paolo Farinati.” The Getty. 2000. http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/bio/a2973-1.html (19 December 2002).
“Paolo Farinati.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Online at Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/02/0275/T027557.asp (19 December 2002).