PIERO DI COSIMO
(b. 1462, Firenze, d. 1521, Firenze)

The Finding of Vulcan on Lemnos

1495-1505
Oil and tempera on canvas
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

Vulcan (Greek Hephaestus) in Greek and Roman mythology was the god of fire, and the blacksmith who forged the weapons of many gods and heroes. He was the educator of the primitive man, and taught him the proper use of fire. He was the son of Jupiter and Juno. He was married to Venus who made a cuckold of him. He was crippled as a result of being thrown down to earth from Olympus by Jupiter in a fit of anger.

When Vulcan was thrown down from Olympus, he landed on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean where he was looked after by the inhabitants. He is shown being helped to his feet by one of a band of nymphs.