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Hans von Aachen, The Amazement of the Gods (?)

Key facts
Full title The Amazement of the Gods (?)
Artist Hans von Aachen
Artist dates 1552 - 1615
Date made probably 1590s
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 35.5 × 45.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1982
Inventory number NG6475
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Amazement of the Gods (?)
Hans von Aachen

Jupiter, the ruler of the gods, is seated on a cloud, his attribute of an eagle with thunderbolts in its beak beside him. He is embracing the goddess Minerva, his daughter. The scene is witnessed by a gathering of the gods of Olympus, clearly shocked by what they see.

Mercury, messenger of the gods, carries his winged caduceus (wand) in one hand and points toward the pair with the other. Diana, goddess of the moon, with her back turned, has abandoned her bow and her quiver full of arrows to watch. Apollo is seated with his lyre; Venus leans, naked, against a boulder as Cupid covers her with a shimmering drapery.

From 1596 Hans von Aachen was working in Prague. He was employed as court painter by the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, who was often depicted as Jupiter and for whom he may have made this picture. Rudolf may have been attracted by the idea of the powerful Jupiter’s union with Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.

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