RUBENS, Peter Paul
(b. 1577, Siegen, d. 1640, Antwerpen)

The Union of Earth and Water

c. 1618
Oil on canvas, 223 x 181 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

In the 16-17th centuries the four elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) are usually represented as classical gods and goddess with their attributes. Earth, as a woman has the attributes that belong to the goddesses of fertility (e.g. the cornucopia of Ceres). Water is personified by a river good with his overturned urn.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 28 minutes):
George Frideric Handel: Water Music, Suite No. 1