Pietro del Donzello painted this scene from the story of Jason and the Argonauts in 1487, and it’s now on loan from the private Mari-Cha Collection to the public Frick Collection in New York. We are so used to dwelling on the moment when the Renaissance rediscovers what we think of as a “pure” classical style that we don’t have much time for an earlier (much longer) moment, when Europe’s vision of its antique past was wrapped up in the culture of chivalry. I for one am happy to think of Jason as close kin to Lancelot du Lac, and to forgo white marble and togas in favor of stunning knightly splendor. The ancient Greeks would probably have felt the same.
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