BERNINI, Gian Lorenzo
(b. 1598, Napoli, d. 1680, Roma)
The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun1615
Carrara marble, height 44 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome
When he was about seventeen Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in imitation of ancient sculpture, executed the group of The Goat Amalthea with the Infant Jupiter and a Faun.
Jupiter was the son of Saturn, the god who devoured his children because it was prophesied that one of them would usurp him. Jupiter's mother fled to Crete where she gave birth to him in a cave. She gave Saturn a large stone wrapped in swaddling clothes which he unsuspectingly swallowed instead. Jupiter was brought up on the slopes of Cretan Mt Ida by nymphs who fed him on wild honey and on milk from the goat Amalthea.