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sion to he place usual hi the car earth, a to avoid with his

This Lambert French the Suu to the On the Above

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FRENCH SCHOOL.

LE SUEUR, ococe FRENCI MUSEUM.

PHAETON

REQUESTING TO DRIVE THE SUN'S CAR.

Opinions are divided as to the origin of Phaeton. Hesiod calls him the son of Cephalus ; Apollodorus makes him descend from Tithonus; Ovid names him as the offspring of the Sun , and this last account has prevailed amongst us. It is added that Epaphus having denied his being descended from the Sun, he wished to give an undeniable proof of his origin by obtaining from Apollo the permission to drive his car during a whole day; but scarcely had he placed himself in it, that the horses felt it was not the usual hand that guided them : they started off, dragging the car out of its track, setting fire to various parts of the earth, and would have burnt it entirely, had not Jupiter, to avoid greater evils, struck down the proud Phaeton , with his thunderbolts.

This subject adorned one of the ceilings of the ancient Lambert Hotel in the isle Saint-Louis : it is now in the French Museum. Le Sueur has in the middle represented the Sun's Palace; Apollo is seen in it seated and listening to the entreaties of Phaeton, who is kneeling before him. On the left are seen the Sun's Car and his fiery steeds. Above is Aurora, in front Boreas and other Winds are seen, who, anticipating that the Sun's Car will be ill-conducted, prepare to overthrow every thing, when it shall be out of the road traced by Destiny.

This composition has been engraved by C. Dupuis : here it reversed from the icture. Width 12 feet 3 inches; height, 8 feet 6 inches.

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On n'est pas bien d'accord sur l'origine de Phaeton. Hesiode le dit fils de Céphale; Apollodore le fait naître de Titon; Ovide le donne comme fils du Soleil; c'est cette version qui a prévalu parmi nous. On ajoute qu'Epaphus, lui ayant disputé son origine comme fils du Soleil , il voulut en donner une preuve irrécusable, en oblenant d'Apollon la faculté de conduire son char pendant un jour; mais à peine y fût-il placé, que les chevaux sentirent que ce n'était plus la main accoulumée qui les guidait; ils s'emportèrent, entrainèrent le char hors de sa route, mirent en feu divers endroits de la terre, et l'auraient embrasée en entier, si, pour éviter de plus grands maibeurs, Jupiter n'eût foudroyé l'orgueilleux Phaeton.

Ce sujet ornait l'un des plafonds de l'ancien hôtel Lambert, à l'ile Saint-Louis ; il est maintenant au Musée français. Le Sueur a représenté au milieu le palais du Soleil ; on y voit Apollon assis , recevant les supplications de Phaéton, qui est à genoux devant lui. A gauche on aperçoit le char du Soleil et ses chevaux fougueux. Au-dessus est l'Aurore ; sur le devant on voit Borée et d'autres vents qui , prévoyant que le char du Soleil sera mal conduit, s'apprêtent à tout renverser, lorsqu'il sera hors de la route tracée par le Destin.

Cette composition a été gravée par Ch. Dupuis. Elle est gravée ici en sens invers du tableau.

Larg., 11 pieds 7 pouces ; haut., 8 pieds.

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