Dido Aeneas

Aeneas will always be firmly fixed in the eyes of her who watches for him, 25b: Both night and day bring back Aeneas to her mind. But he, ingrate and deaf to my gifts: And one whom I would wish to be without-if I were not a fool. Yet I do not hate Aeneas, although he has wicked intentions. Dido and Aeneas's relationship catches the attention of Juno and Venus. For very different reasons — Juno wants to delay Aeneas's reaching Italy, and Venus wants to ensure his safety — the two goddesses jointly conspire to bring about a sexual union of the pair.

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  • Dido and Aeneas

    Nicolas Verkolye (Dutch, 1673 - 1746)90.2 × 117.5 cm (35 1/2 × 46 1/4 in.)71.PA.66

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Dido and Aeneas

Nicolas Verkolye (Dutch, 1673 - 1746)

Dido Aeneas Composer


Netherlands (Place Created)

early 18th century

Oil on canvas

Dido Aeneas


90.2 × 117.5 cm (35 1/2 × 46 1/4 in.)

Object Description

The shipwrecked Trojan prince Aeneas, shown on the right, arrives at the court of Dido, the legendary queen and founder of Carthage. Hands upraised, Dido and members of her court react in surprise at the appearance of the splendidly uniformed warrior. Others point knowingly to Venus and Cupid, who appear in the upper corner. It was Cupid who made Dido fall hopelessly in love with Aeneas. Although not shown here, the episode will end sadly; prompted by Aeneas' inevitable departure, Dido commits suicide.
This densely packed theatrical scene is taken from Virgil'sAeneid. Nicolas Verkolye placed the figures in a stage-like setting with classically inspired architecture. Through light, shadow, and gesture, he dramatically relates the story of the ill-fated lovers.


Possibly Jacob Van Hoek [sold, Hoek sale, Amsterdam, April 12, 1719, lot 3.]

Dido Aeneas

Possibly Hendrik Sorgh [sold, Sorgh sale, Amsterdam, March 28, 1720, lot 34.]

Pierre-Joseph Lafontaine (Paris, France) [unsold, Lafontaine sale, Chariot, Paris, January 17, 1810, lot 182; sold, Christie's, London, May 8, 1813, lot 62, to General John Ramsay for £26.5.]

General John Ramsay, 1768 - 1845 (London, England) [sold, Christie's, London, June 2, 1815, lot 63, for £9.9 to General Thomas Grosvenor.]

General Thomas Grosvenor, British, 1764 - 1851

Private Collection [sold, Christie's, London, July 24, 1969, lot 186, to Ira Spanierman.]
Note: as Lairesse

Ira Spanierman, born 1928 (New York, New York)

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, December 8, 1971, lot 93, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]
Note: as Lairesse

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973)
  • California State University (Northridge), February 26 to March 30, 1973
Paintings on Loan to the Bowers Museum from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 8 to September 17, 1979)
  • Bowers Museum (Santa Ana), January 8 to September 17, 1979
Louis Style: French Frames from Louis XIII to Louis XVI, 1610-1792 (September 15, 2015 to January 3, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 15, 2015 to January 3, 2016

Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen met derzelver pryzen: Zedert een langen reeks van Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere Plaatzen in het openbaar vekogt (The Hague: P.G. van Baalen, 1752), vol. 1, pp. 221, 244, nos. 3, 34.

Constantin, Chariot, Paris. Catalogue dune belle collection de tableaux originaux des grands maitres des différentes écoles composant le cabinet de M. Lafontaine. January 17, 1810, p. 39, lot 182.

Christie's, London. A Catalogue of [..] Flemish and Dutch Pictures [..] recently consigned from the Continent, comprising a few of the most precious Specimens of the Cabinet of Mr. Schmidt, and of one other distinguished collector at Amsterdam [..]. May 8, 1813, p. 8, no. 62.

Christie's, London. A Catalogue of [.] Italian Pictures [..] under the Care of the late H. Tresham, Esq. R.A. [..]. June 2, 1815, p. 7, lot 63.

Christie's, London. Pictures by Old Masters. July 24-25, 1969, p. 39, lot 186.

Sotheby's, London. Important Old Master Paintings. December 8, 1971, p. Jiffy lube signature oil change prices. 63, lot 93, ill.

Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Northridge: California State University, 1973), p. 16, no. 22, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 142, no. 206, ill.

Roy, Alain. Gérard de Lairesse (1640-1711) (Paris: Arthena, 1992), p. 501, no. 31, ill.

Brink, Claudia, and Wilhelm Hornbostel, eds. Pegasus and the Arts, exh. cat. (Hamburg: Deutscher Kunstverlag, with Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, 1993), p. 176, under no. III.26.

Leeuwen, Nora van, et al. 'Nicolaas Verkolje.' In Nicolaas Verkolje, 1673-1746: De Fluwelen Hand, exh. cat. Paul Knolle and Everhard Korthals Altes, eds. (Zwolle: Waanders, with Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, 2011), pp. 19, 20, ill.

Dido And Aeneas History

Verbeek, Winnie. 'Vrouwen in de Hoofdrol.' In Nicolaas Verkolje, 1673-1746: De Fluweelen Hand, exh. cat. Paul Knolle and Everhard Korthals Altes, eds. (Zwolle: Waanders, with Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, 2011), pp. 59, 60.

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