The Education of Achilles
72.5 cm x 59.8 cm (28 9/16 in. x 23 9/16 in.)
(Cremona, Italy, 1671 - 1749, Bologna, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Chiron, a mythological being that is half-human, half-horse, or a centaur, taught the art of medicine, hunting, and music to the young Achilles, who would later become the greatest Greek warrior of the Trojan War. In this painting, they are practicing bow hunting. Chiron’s strict but loving mentoring served as a model for tutoring noblemen in ancient Rome and became a popular subject representing humanist education during the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries in Europe.
Active in Bologna, Donato Creti specialized in paintings of classical and mythological themes that feature idealized figures. This particular work is one of several Creti depicted of the education of Achilles. The most famous is still in Bologna: it is set within a more expansive landscape and depicts a lion as their prey.