The subject of this unfinished painting is the artist’s fantasy on several Greek myths. Apollo, the god of the sun, art, music and poetry, is playing music along with his favorites in nature's lap. Ivanov said he wanted to portray “nudity instead of a life class”, in other words, to combine classical beauty with a lively romantic feeling. He makes studies from classic sculptures (for example, the head of Apollo of the Belvedere or a bas-relief depicting sleeping Endymion), but he tries to animate the images filling them with warmth and light. The artist strives to revive nature with classical harmony and at the same time to recreate antiquity there not as a set of familiar forms, but as absolute perfection, the golden age, of whose advent he had dreamed all his life. There appears an idyllic world, clear and fragile; it is no coincidence that the idyll genre was so popular in the poetry of that time. In 1828, A.A. Delvig wrote the idyll The End of the Golden Age, and Ivanov himself, explaining why he did not complete the painting, said that he had “lost his cheerful disposition”, because he could not help but feel the utopian nature of his dreams.
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