Detail from La Flûte lui tint lieu de Lyre chez Admète (The Flute took the place of the Lyre at the home of Admetus) by Claude-Augustin-Pierre Duflos, after Hubert François Bourguignon d'Anville, called Gravelot, 18th century. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
after Hubert François Bourguignon d'Anville, called Gravelot, painter, draughtsman, engraver, 1699-1773
This is a beautiful and delicately drawn etching. A shepherd stands at the edge of the woods on the right. He plays a wind instrument with a flared bell, perhaps a shawm, or a type of recorder. The shepherd guards a flock of sheep which lies resting at the left. A dog sits at the lower right, and a crook and lyre lie on the ground before him. A few buildings are in the left distance.
The name Admetus in the inscription refers to King Admetus of Pherae in Thessaly, a figure from Greek mythology. As a punishment from Zeus for killing the Cyclopes for the death of his son, Asclepius, Apollo was ordered to serve as a mortal for one year. Thus it was that Apollo served as a herdsman for King Admetus. The lyre in the etching identifies the shepherd as Apollo. Apollo played the lyre with great skill but, in this image, the lyre is discarded in favor of the "flute" while he watches over the flock belonging to Admetus.
There is a fine red-tinted edging on the left and top of this etching. It was probably intended as a book illustration, and was perhaps a frontispiece.
About the Artists
Claude-Augustin-Pierre Duflos, engraver, 1700-1786
Claude-Augustin-Pierre Duflos is probably the engraver of this work. Not much information is given about him in Bénézit, other than he engraved works after Boucher, Pater, Schenau, Bernard, Le Barbier, and others. There is a more senior engraver, Claude Duflos (1665-1727), who may have been a relative of Claude-Augustin-Pierre Duflos, and who is often confused with the younger artist. The elder Duflos engraved works after Lebrun, Perugino, and Girardon. As the life dates of the younger Duflos are closer to those of Gravelot, it seems more likely that the younger Duflos is the engraver of this work.
Hubert François Bourguignon d'Anville, called Gravelot, painter, draughtsman, engraver, 1699-1773
Gravelot was the younger brother of the celebrated geographer, Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, according to Bénézit. He studied under Boucher, joined the suite of the French ambassador to Rome, but left at Lyon and returned to Paris, dissolute. Sent to Saint-Domingue, eventually he was repatriated to France, as a "prodigal son." He lived in England for a while, became an intimate friend of Hogarth and engraved some of Hogarth's first plates, eventually returning to France. He was known principally for his illustrations of books by Boccaccio, Corneille, Racine, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Bénézit, Gravelot was "A draughtsman by taste, an engraver by necessity."
- For the story of Apollo and Admetus, see Carlos Parada's Greek Mythology Link. [back to article]