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Mountain Landscape with Narcissus
Jacob Pynas
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The young man staring into the pool in the foreground is Narcissus. According to the Roman poet Ovid, he was a man of extraordinary beauty but was also so proud that he spurned each of his suitors in turn. As a punishment, the goddess Nemesis led him to a pool where he fell so in love with his own reflection that he wasted away to nothing more than a flower growing in the grass.

Subtly, Pynas has also included another character from the story. The nymph Echo was the most famous of Narcissus’s spurned admirers. Rejected, she also pined away until her bones became stone and only the distant sound of her voice survived. She is there, Pynas seems to imply, in the resonant cliffs above the pool. The subject was frequently painted because it gave artists an excuse to showcase landscape, a genre which was becoming increasingly popular both in Rome and in Holland.

Key facts
Artist Jacob Pynas
Artist dates 1592/3 - after 1650
Full title Mountain Landscape with Narcissus
Date made 1628
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 47.6 x 62.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought in memory of the art historian and critic Keith Roberts, 1980
Inventory number NG6460
Location in Gallery Not on display
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