ELSHEIMER, Adam
(b. 1578, Frankfurt/Main, d. 1610, Roma)

Jupiter and Mercury at Philemon and Baucis (detail)

1609-10
Oil on copperplate
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Among the inventions not from Ovid but unique to the painting is a picture on the wall, probably a coloured print. On examining an engraving taken from the painting, Goethe considered that the print showed one of Jupiter's 'amorous pranks performed with Mercury's aid'. There may well be a streak of humour in the way that Jupiter's gaze glides over the picture. At the same time, this picture within a picture reflects the very function of the cabinet picture we are looking at.




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