BERCHEM, Nicolaes
(b. 1620, Haarlem, d. 1683, Amsterdam)

Jupiter Notices Callisto

Oil on canvas, 129 x 168 cm
Private collection

Nicolaes Berchem was a landscapist. However, he produced a number of works between 1648 and 1650 in which figures dominate the composition. Later he produced several more pictures with figures so large that the landscape is no more than decor. The Callisto is one of the most impressive of these works.

The beautiful nymph Callisto, exhausted from the hunt, has lain down to rest in a glade. Her robust figure fills the entire foreground. Her right hand rests on a deer and a hare she has brought back from the hunt. She is elegant and coquettish, and she attracts the attention of the lecherous Jupiter, supreme ruler of the gods, who passes by on a cloud in the background.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.