RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

Juno and Argus

c. 1611
Oil on canvas, 249 x 296 cm
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

Rubens's study of the antique and of the new sciences manifests itself in this huge celebratory work which uses the story of Jupiter's love for Io and the jealousy of his wife Juno as an allegory of the cosmos and demonstrates his colour theory.

Rubens's painting represents the concluding scene from the story of Io. The giant Argus of the hundred eyes, whom Juno set to watch over Io, was murdered by Mercury. In memory of Argus Juno took his eyes and set them in the tail of her peacock.