Mountain Landscape with Narcissus

According to Ovid's 'Metamorphoses' (Book III, 345-510), Narcissus was the beautiful son of a nymph who spurned the many potential lovers who pursued him because of his beauty. He was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection. Here, Narcissus gazes at his reflection in the water in the basin.

The basin is decorated with a bas-relief of the Rape of Europa, a theme loosely appropriate both to a basin and to Narcissus in that it combines the subjects of water and love.

When this painting was first recorded the figure of Narcissus had been painted over and a rider on a white horse had been added in the middle distance. The painting was then known as 'Landscape with Virgil's Tomb'.

Key facts

Artist dates
1592/3 - after 1650
Full title
Mountain Landscape with Narcissus
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on wood
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
Location in Gallery