Engraving, Juno and the peacock by Magdalena van der Passe after Peter Paul Rubens


Engraving  by Magdalena van der Passe after Peter Paul Rubens, a maidservant, holds the severed head of Argus while Juno takes the eyes out one by one. The body of the hundred-dog giant Argus, who was killed by Mercury, lies at her feet. Three putti play with peacock feathers. The engraving is 22 x 16 cm and is in good condition. The print comes in a passe par tout.

 http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.161387 </ p>

1 in stock


This post is also available in: Nederlands

Peter Paul Rubens, June 28, 1577 – May 30, 1640 was a Flemish artist. He is regarded as the most influential artist of the Flemish baroque tradition. The compositions of Rubens refer to erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color and sensuality, which followed the direct, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter Reformation. Rubens specialized in creating altarpieces, portraits, landscapes and history paintings of mythological and allegorical subjects. In addition to a large studio in Antwerp that produced paintings that were popular with nobility and art collectors throughout Europe, Rubens was a classically trained humanist scholar and diplomat who was knighted by both Philip IV of Spain and Charles I of England. Rubens was a productive artist. The catalog of his works by Michael Jaffé contains 1,403 pieces, which do not include a large number of copies in his workshop. His commissioned works were mostly “history paintings,” including religious and mythological subjects, and hunting scenes. He painted portraits, especially of friends, and self-portraits, and painted different landscapes in his later life. Rubens designed tapestries and prints, as well as his own house. He also supervised the ephemeral decorations of the royal entry into Antwerp by the cardinal-infante Ferdinand of Austria in 1635. His drawings are predominantly very powerful and without much detail. He also made extensive use of oil sketches as preparatory studies. He was one of the last great artists to make consistent use of wooden panels as a support medium, even for very large works, but he also used canvas, especially when the work had to be sent a long distance. For altarpieces he sometimes painted on slate to reduce reflection problems.

Argus was a giant from Greek mythology who had a hundred eyes all over his body, of which no more than two slept at a time. When Zeus the upper god dropped his eye on Io, he turned her into a beautiful silver cow so that his wife Hera would not notice anything. But the latter did not trust it and instructed Argus to keep an eye on Io. Argus was killed by Hermes (commissioned by Zeus, to free Io) after Hermes let him fall asleep so deep through his flute that all his eyes closed. Hera later placed his hundred eyes on the tail of the devoted animal, the peacock, whose tail is full of eyes and whose vigilance is proverbial.
In this latinized version, Hera has been replaced by Juno, Hermes by Mercury and Zeus by Jupiter.