BOR, Paulus
(b. 1605, Amersfoort, d. 1669, Amersfoort)

Cydippe with Acontius's Apple

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 151 x 114 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The picture shows a woman kneeling on a cushion, contemplating an apple she holds in her right hand. The scene is identified as an episode from Heroides by Ovid who wrote of the love of the prosperous but undistinguished Acontius for Cydippe, the daughter of a wealthy man. While Cydippe was offering a sacrifice in the temple, Acontius cast an apple at her feet, inscribed with the words: 'I vow at the shrine of Diana that I shall wed Acontius'. Cydippe read her suitor's message aloud and, having uttered the promise, was bound to become Acontius's wife. Paulus Bor is the only painter known to have illustrated this tale. He must have been interested in classical literature and appears to have had a preference for relatively obscure episodes.