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The subject of this picture has not been satisfactorily deciphered, despite its recent cleaning in 2010. Apollo is shown trampling on coins and golden treasures, symbolising the rejection of earthly goods. He is crowning a man holding a book, which suggests he is a poet, possibly Horace, who called upon Apollo to help him spurn earthly reward. Hercules, deified, as protector of the arts, and wearing his lion skin looms in the clouds above. It has been suggested that the figures on the right are the Three Graces, with their traditional symbol of the die (symbolic of child-like purity), and also that they are three separate entities. The figure at the bottom could be Fortune, mistress of the sea, with her cornucopia and a die (here symbolic of chance).
Apollo Crowning a Poet and Giving Him a Consort
oil on canvas
H 261.5 x W 228.5 cm
bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981
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