ANGELICA KAUFFMAN'S "ARIADNE ABANDONED BY THESEUS ON NAXOS"
WADSTROM, SARAH MORIAN
Master of Arts
Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus on Naxos was painted by the Swiss-born artist Angelica Kauffman in 1774, while she was living in England. Her work was an important factor in the development of the early Neoclassical style in England, and this painting embodies the ideas of noble simplicity and sedate grandeur put forth by her friend Johann Winckelmann as appropriate for such history paintings. One of her few single-figure, non-portrait history paintings, it is typical of the careful composition and rich Venetian coloring for which she was well-known. Angelica was a well-educated woman, and therefore she was able to draw on a wide variety of literary and visual sources when she chose the subject. The theme of abandoned and mourning women was often used by artists in the late eighteenth century, and Angelica may have had a particular identification with it, due to her unusual position as an artist and a single woman.