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

The Infant Jupiter Nurtured by the Goat Amalthea

c. 1638
Oil on canvas, 97 x 133 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

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 the painting of Poussin, a nymph has Jupiter in her arms, holding a jug of milk to his lips, while another gathers honeycombs, and a shepherd milks the goat.