Four series (four stories of Achilles, four round frames portraying virtues, eight monochrome door frames, two stories of Mercury) that, together with San Francesco Saverio and two models for the Collina Sbaraglia monument form the most rich and consistent group of paintings by Donato Creti in a single museum.
The subject of this painting is connected with the series of Achilles by the reference to Troy. Mercury delivers the golden apple to Paris the shepherd to give it as a prize to Venus, Minerva or Juno. This will trigger the kidnapping of Helena and ultimately cause the was to break out between Greece and Troy. The composition is a remarkable example of Creti’s skill in re-visiting a well-established iconography: Paris’ pose is a quotation of Guido Reni’s Samson. Creti quoted Reni to measure up his own accomplishment as an artist. Both Creti’s and Reni’s paintings were exhibited together in this very building from 1745 to the arrival of Napoleon in 1796.
Mercury and Paris, Donato Creti (1671 - 1749) donated by Collina Sbaraglia to the Senate, 1744