- Reference number
- Jordaens, Jacob
- Offering to Ceres
- Ca. 1619
- 165 cm x 112 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Antonio”, 1772, n. 968; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de paso al dormitorio”, 1814-1818, n. 968)
Crowned with wheat, as goddess of the Earth, Ceres holds a horn filled with fruit, a symbol of the abundance and fertility that characterizes her. She receives homage from a group of peasants, who bear an offering of the products they receive from the earth they farm. This goddess taught humans to use the plow and to farm, to which the painter alludes by including oxen in the work.
Ceres also embodies the changing seasons, that is, the cycle of life, which is represented here by the figures of different ages that surround the goddess: children, youth, adults and the aged. Even the beginning of new life is reflected in the goddess's pregnancy.
This painting was made at the beginning of Jordaens' artistic maturity and is notable for its intense colors, the perfect assimilation of space, and the energetic rendering characteristic of his work during his last years. His preference of popular, almost vulgar types is very frequent throughout his production and is in keeping with the tradition of some Flemish artists, such as Brueghel.
This work was first documented in 1772 at the Royal Palace, when it was listed as coming from the Zarzuela Palace.