I figured they were completely out of date, and I was influenced, however, as I told you, by that particular sonnet of Goodman's about Omphale
and Hercules ["In Lydia"].
The mirror's users would have thought of the story of Omphale
, the Lydian queen who seduced the hero after he was sold into slavery for a year, and for whom he did a woman's work in women's clothes while she took the lion skin and club.
The contrast between this work's intention and that of Franz Liszt's symphonic poems is clearly established, while Caballero studies what the Saint-Saens piece tells its audience in light not only of the mythological sources but also of contemporaneous paintings that depict Hercules and Omphale
To her right, in the north corner of the wall, a parallel scene is displayed: Omphale
leans forward to entice a semi-naked Hercules who sits with his club idle at his side.
She also appears as one of Omphale
's handmaidens in Hercules and Omphale
, painted by Cranach's eldest son Hans in 1537 and now in the Thyssen Collection.
It is clear from the fresco that Herakles lies sprawled below a seated female figure, Omphale
, the Lydian queen to whom he was sold into slavery, and the cupids romp about taking advantage of his drunken state.
The story of Arachne's compatriot Omphale
, Queen of Lydia, who forced Hercules to dress as a woman and spin, is a related theme, popular among painters, that also incorporated the 'world upside-down' theme of gender reversal and the idea of sexual ambiguity.
Boucher's great masterpiece Hercules and Omphale
, now in Moscow's Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, belonged to the Galitzine family, a diplomatic dynasty stretching from the seventeenth to the end of the nineteenth centuries.
Dukas: Sorcerer's Apprentice; Saint-Saens: Omphales
Spinning Wheel; Ravel: Mother Goose; Franck: Le chasseur maudit.