Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus
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Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus 1760 - 1763

On Display Scottish National Gallery

  • Scottish Art
Achilles refuses the comfort of his Greek comrades as he grieves over the dead body of his devoted attendant and friend, Patroclus, who was killed by the Trojans. The enormous size of Hamilton's painting conveys a sense of his ambition to depict episodes from Homer's 'Iliad' in an overpowering, epic mode. His heroic compositions were designed to convey the dramatic and emotional range of the epic poem, based on Alexander Pope's translation. Hamilton painted six canvases, each commissioned by a different patron. This one, the finest in the series, was made for Sir James Grant between 1760 and 1763, and secured an international audience through Cunego's engravings.

Glossary Open

Commission

When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Engraving

The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.

Epic

A literary term applied to poems or stories describing the actions of heroic figures, it is used more generally to describe representations on a grand scale.

Patronage

The support given to artists by an individual or organisation, usually through buying or funding their work.

Commission, Composition, Engraving, Epic, Patronage

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 2339
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 227.30 x 391.20 cm (framed: 286.30 x 424.20 x 11.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1976