Oil on canvas. Signed: G. R.
Giuseppe Recco was born in Naples and mostly likely received his artistic education from his father Giacomo and his uncle Giovanni Battista. He specialised primarily in still lifes. Recco created a large part of his oeuvre in Spain, where his plant and animal compositions were very popular. After returning to his hometown, he was further influenced by Caravaggio and painted mainly sea-themed topics.
In this painting, Recco portrayed Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea and its creatures, bearing in his arms a large crab, a squid, and several species of fish. His naked muscular body is immersed in water from the waist down. Poseidon’s expression is melancholic and is directed at the bottom right corner of the painting. His face is bearded, his head adorned with seashells, red coral, and seaweed. In the background is a dark sky and rough waves; depicted on the right are flying birds and several female figures, most likely sea nymphs.