Allegory of Love Poetry

Franz Matsch, Vienna, 1885, glue tempera
The Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc, Rijeka (vault)

The allegory depicts two loversembrace in front of Cupid with a lute,
bow and arrows laid on the roots of lush vegetation that borders the
scene. The open sea is set in the background, to the right. Dark colours
and deep shadows indicate the dusk of day’s end. A swirling brown
drapery that looks as if it were carried by the wind might symbolise the god of wind Zephyrus, and the abundance of flowers, including a flower garland connecting all three characters, might indicate that lovely Flora, the goddess of spring is in his embrace. This distinctly bucolic scene is different from Klimt’s painting Orpheus and Eurydice, also an allegory of poetry, not only in its surrounding but also in intimacy between the loving couple, which is absent in Gustav’s depiction since both the god of poetry and Eurydice concentrate on the little boy – Amor. The scene is circular to accomodate the given framework and exudes sentimentality, which is a distinctive attribute of Matsch’s female characters.