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Andrea Previtali, Scenes from Tebaldeo's Eclogues: The Story of Damon

Key facts
Full title Scenes from Tebaldeo's Eclogues: Thyrsis asks Damon the Cause of his Sorrow / Thyrsis finds the Body of Damon
Artist Andrea Previtali
Artist dates about 1480 - 1528
Group Scenes from Tebaldeo's Eclogues
Date made about 1510
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 45.2 × 19.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with a contribution from the Art Fund, 1937
Inventory number NG4884.2
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Scenes from Tebaldeo's Eclogues: The Story of Damon
Andrea Previtali

These two scenes are part of a group of four by Previtali, painted on two panels, probably some time around 1510. They illustrate the key episodes of the Second Eclogue by Antonio Tebaldeo (1456–1538), and were probably intended to decorate a piece of furniture, possibly the case of a musical instrument. The second and fourth scenes are represented here.

Damon is lamenting his unrequited love for Amaryllis. Thyrsis asks why he is so melancholy. Damon says he prefers to be alone ‘among thorns and brambles in a remote and dismal place.’ In the fourth episode, Thyrsis returns, concerned by how changed his friend has become. Seeing Damon lying on the grass and his flock scattered, Thyrsis approaches softly thinking that Damon is asleep. He sees blood and fears that a wild animal has attacked Damon, but then notices the weapon in Damon’s chest and realises that he has killed himself.

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Scenes from Tebaldeo's Eclogues


These four small pictures were probably painted for a piece of furniture, perhaps the case of a musical instrument. They illustrate the key episodes of the Second Eclogue by Antonio Tebaldeo (1456–1538), a poet from Ferrara.

In the first scene the shepherd Damon broods over his unrequited love for Amaryllis. He neglects his sheep, stops playing his lyre and rests his head in his hand. In the next scene his friend Thyrsis urges him to stop being so melancholy. In the third scene, having broken his instrument and abandoned it on the ground, Damon plunges a dagger into his chest. In the final scene, Thyrsis discovers Damon’s body.

When the paintings were acquired by the National Gallery in 1937 they were believed to be by the Venetian painter Giorgione. However, the scenes resemble other signed works by Previtali and the paintings are now thought to be by him.