The Wallace Collection

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The Infant Jupiter with the Nymphs on Mount Ida
  • Nicolaes Berchem (1620 - 1683)
  • The Infant Jupiter with the Nymphs on Mount Ida
  • Netherlands
  • 165[0?]
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 63.3 x 84.2 cm
  • Signature: 'CPBerighem 165[0?]', the 'CPB' in monogram
  • P256
  • East Galleries III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Nicolaes Berchem is best known for his small, atmospheric landscapes. However, he also painted a number of mythological paintings, particularly early in his career, before the mid-1650s.

    The subject of this painting is the myth of the birth and early life of Jupiter, King of the Gods in Roman mythology. His father Saturn devoured his children because he feared that one of them would usurp his power. When his wife, Rhea, gave birth to Jupiter, she gave Saturn a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes which he swallowed instead: the child was then secretly brought up by the nymphs on Mount Ida where he was fed on wild honey and milk from the goat Amalthe. The artist sets this well-known myth in an ideal Italianate landscape, with the suckling infant Jupiter visible at the centre of the composition.
    Berchem depicted this subject at least three times, most notably on a large canvas now at the Mauritshuis, The Hague, dated 1648.

    Acquired by the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1867.