Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: The Death of Hyacinthus (1752)

(Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Spain)

The subject of this painting is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book X). Hyacinthus is a person from Greek mythology. According to the story, he was a lover of the god Apollo but Zephyrus, the West Wind, also admired him. One day Apollo and Hyacinth took turns throwing a discus. When Apollo throwed his discus, Zephyrus, jealous that Hyacinthus preferred Apollo, blew Apollo's discus off course, killing Hyacinthus who wanted to to catch it to impress Apollo. Stricken by grief, Apollo made a flower (the Hyacinth) from the blood of Hyacinthus. This painting is from 1752.