POUSSIN, Nicolas
(b. 1594, Les Andelys, d. 1665, Roma)

The Nurture of Jupiter

Oil on canvas, 95 x 118 cm
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

The painting is also known as The Childhood of Jupiter.

The rejection of Venetian colouring, the sharper modelling, and the evolution of a composition based on carefully balanced movements are apparent in a small group of works which must be dated about 1637, of which the exquisite Nurture of Jupiter is typical.

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.

In this representation of the subject the goat suckles Jupiter.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 38 minutes):
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony in C Major (Jupiter-Symphony) K 551