HEEMSKERCK, Maerten van
(b. 1498, Heemskerck, d. 1574, Haarlem)
Momus Criticizes the Gods' Creations1561
Oil on oak, 120 x 174 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Momus is the Greek deity of mockery, faultfinding, scoff and (un)fair criticism. He is also the patron of writers and poets. He found fault with the man made by Hephaestus for not having little doors in his breast through which his secret thoughts might be seen, and with Aphrodite for talking too much and because her sandals creaked (although he could find no fault with her naked body). This and other mocking and criticism of the gods led to his downfall and he was banished from the Olympus.