Cephalus carried off by Aurora in her Chariot

The subject is from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' (7: 701-14). This work is a cartoon for a prominent fresco composition on the ceiling of the Gallery in the Palazzo Farnese, Rome, which the early sources attribute to Agostino Carracci. The ceiling was probably begun around 1597, the major portion undoubtedly designed and executed by Annibale Carracci. The general theme was divine and earthly love illustrated by pagan subject matter.

It is thought that this cartoon is largely the work of Agostino Carracci in execution, but Annibale was connected with the project. Another cartoon in the collection, 'A Woman borne off by a Sea God''(?)' was designed for the same project.

Key facts

Artist dates
1557 - 1602
Full title
Cephalus carried off by Aurora in her Chariot
Date made
about 1597
Medium and support
Charcoal and white chalk (a grey wash applied later over the whole) on paper
202.5 x 398.8 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by Lord Francis Egerton, 1837
Inventory number
Location in Gallery

Other paintings in the group: The Farnese Gallery Cartoons

Agostino Carracci
about 1599
Agostino Carracci: 'A Woman borne off by a Sea God (?)'