Gaspare Diziani was born in Belluno. Here he got his first training. He then moved to Venice to the studio of Gregorio Lazzarini and later that of Sebastiano Ricci, who influence was very strong. His career overlapped with that of Tiepolo who was seven years his elder. In the years 1710-1720 he painted for the church in Belluno eight paintings, and for churches in Venice some fresco’s and a larger painting. Diziani's celerity and technical assurance are evident from preparatory oil sketches, where color has been applied in rapid and spirited strokes. He also worked as a scenery painter for theatre and opera, first in Venice and later in Dresden and Munich. Both Tiepolo and Diziani were prolific, although Diziani's commissions, especially the early ones, were more playful bedroom, small salon decorations, while Tiepolo made ceiling decorations. His pupils included Pietro Edwards and Jacopo Marieschi (1711–1794). His son, Antonio Diziani, painted interior and exterior vedute of mainly Venice. He died in Venice.
The judgment of Paris is a famous story from Greek mythology that was very popular with artists. It is a story of Homer that is the direct cause of the Trojan War:
At one point, the assembled gods celebrated the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. The only uninvited goddess Eris ( discord) casts a golden apple between the attendees with the inscription 'for the most beautiful'. To resolve the subsequent dispute between Hera, Athena and Aphrodite, the gods ask Hermes to pick Paris so that he can act as a referee. Every goddess promises Paris a reward when her choice falls on her: Hera promises him power, Athena military fame, and Aphrodite tells him to make the most beautiful woman in the world his own. Paris then points to Aphrodite as the most beautiful.
On the left of the painting we see Paris sitting with the apple in his hand, behind him is Hermes with his caduceus in his hand. On the right are the goddesses. Athena with helmet is standing behind, Aphrodite grabs the apple and Hera is in the foreground. In painting from the 16th century on, the judgment of Paris is one of the most popular motifs, and it has been painted thousands of times. It could be a testimonial to a woman, for example at a marriage. Or it may be an expression of the stated morality, or just a good reason for painting three nudes in different poses. In the Italian Renaissance there is an influential engraving by Raimondi from about 1512 after a lost painting by Raphael. Diziani has also looked at this print to depict the famous story.
This relatively small painting by Diziani is painted very smoothly. It can be a sketch, a bozetto, for a still unknown or lost larger work. However, it is not impossible that this colourful work in his beautiful frame always served as an independent painting.
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