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Jupiter and the Gods urging Apollo to take back the Reins of his Chariot
Cornelisz. van Haarlem, Cornelis
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Cornelisz. van Haarlem, Cornelis

Haarlem, 1562 - Haarlem, 1638

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Jupiter and the Gods urging Apollo to take back the Reins of his Chariot

1594. Oil on panel Not on display

The frieze arrangement of the figures places this work in the painter`s classical phase, which began in 1594, the same year as the date on this painting. In Van Thiel`s view, it could be the picture which the Haarlem City Council acquired from the painter in 1594, and which was presented as a gift to Coenraet Dircksz. de Rechtere in around 1601-08, in gratitude for services rendered between 1574 and 1601 as Secretary of the Dutch States.

In the past there has been considerable disagreement about the iconography. An Academy catalogue of about 1804 contains the following description: Vulcan covers Mars with a net after surprising him with Venus and calls on the gods to witness this. On entering the Museo del Prado it is first identified as a representation of Apollo waiting for the judgement of Jupiter and the gods, who condemn him to tend the flocks of King Admetus, an interpretation recorded by Wedekind (1911) which remained on the Museum`s catalogues until today.

However, in 1986 Sluitjer correctly identifies the subject as an illustration of the Ovidean episode in the Metamorphoses (book II, 381–400) in which Apollo, at his son Phaeton`s insistence, agrees to lend him his sun chariot. As Phaeton speeds away in it, Jupiter sends a bolt of lightning to stop him, striking him down dead. Beset by grief, Apollo refuses to drive his chariot. The scene depicted here represents the moment in which Jupiter apologises to Apollo for causing his son`s death and implores him, along with the other gods, to return to his chariot so that the world is not left plunged in darkness.

Apollo is seated on a rock in the centre, covered with a mantle as a sign of mourning. In front of him stands Jupiter, sceptre in hand.

Different gods are represented on both sides, with Bacchus, Mercury, Saturn and Neptune on the right, and Mars and Vulcan on the left. Behind them are diverse mortals, both young and old, and in the background, the chariot destroyed by the bolt of lightning.

The painting was attributed to Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) while it was in the Alcázar from 1666 to 1701. In 1762 it is recorded in the Palace of the Buen Retiro, where it is attributed to Carlo Cesio (1622-1682), probably because of the initials in the signature, and listed as one of the nude paintings that Charles III of Spain ordered to be burned. Pérez Sánchez2 points out that in the royal inventories, Cornelisz. van Haarlem`s painting appears as pendant to a work attributed to Ribera, which he has no hesitation in associating with Hecate (London, Apsley House, Wellington Museum). It is true that in the Alcázar inventories of 1666, 1686 and 1701, after the entry for the Van Haarlem painting there is another for a Ribera which is described as follows: Another of the same size of some witches, but this reference to the size of the preceding entry is common in royal inventories and does not necessarily indicate any relationship between works. Moreover, the Van Haarlem painting must have been sent to the Buen Retiro prior to 1734, since it cannot be identified in the inventory of the paintings rescued from the Alcázar fire, whereas the Ribera picture is mentioned (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 301).


Technical data

Inventory number
Cornelisz. van Haarlem, Cornelis
Jupiter and the Gods urging Apollo to take back the Reins of his Chariot
Height: 44 cm.; Width: 98 cm.
Royal Collection (Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1666, nº 680; Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1686, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Madrid, escalera del zaguanete, 1700, nº 465; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 126; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1794, nº 113; Academia, Sala Reservada, 1827, nº 73).

Bibliography +

Wedekind, Friedrich, Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, Tesis doctoral. Univ. de Leipzig, Leipzig, 1911, pp. VII y 27.

Stechow, Wolfgang, Cornelis van Haarlem en de Hollandsche laatmanierstische schilderkunst, Elsevier's Greïllustreerd Maandschrift, 45, 1935, pp. 73-91.

Bardon, Henry, Le festin des dieux. Essai sur l'humanisme dans les arts plastiques, París, 1960, pp. 30, nota 3.

Thiel, Pieter J. J. van, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem as a Draughtsman, Master drawings, 3, 1965, pp. 123-154.

Onieva, Antonio Juan, La Mitologia en el Museo del Prado, Offo, Madrid, 1972, pp. 17.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973.

Bermejo de la Rica, A., La Mitologia en el Museo del Prado, Editora Nacional, Madrid, 1974, pp. 288.

Bosque, Andree De, Mithologie et Manierisme, Albin Michel, París, 1985, pp. 153, 155.

Bosque, Andree De, Mithologie et Manierisme, Albin Michel, París, 1985, pp. 155.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 326.

Sluijter, Eric Jan, De ''Heydenschen Fabulen'' in de Noordnederlandse Schilderkunst circa 1590-1670, een proeve van beschrijving en interpretatie van schilderijen met verhalende onderwerpen uit de klassieke mythologie, La Haya, 1986, pp. 15.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, I, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. nº1668.

Mcgee, J.L., Cornelis Corneliszoon Van Haarlem (1562-1638). Patrons, Frie..., De Graaf Publishers, Nieuwkoop, 1991, pp. 203-204.

El Prado disperso. Cuadros depositados en Figueras (Gerona), Boletín del Museo del Prado, XII, 1991, pp. 108.

Portús, Javier, La sala reservada del Museo del Prado y el coleccionismo de, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1998, pp. 328.

Thiel, Pieter J. J. van, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1562-1638: A Monograph and Catalogue Raisonné, Doornspijk, 1999, pp. nº116.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 52-53.

G. Navarro, C.; Perdices, A., La mirada del otro: escenarios para la diferencia, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2017, pp. 56-57 n.12.

Other inventories +

Inv. Felipe IV, Alcázar de Madrid, 1686. Núm. s.n..
Otra de vara y quarta de alto y media vara de ancho, de los dioses de la gentilidad, de mano de Golzio, marco negro

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos II, Alcázar de Madrid, 1701-1703. Núm. 475.
Escalera del Zaguanette que Vaja de junto a la pieza Ochauada a las bobedas del Tiziano [...] 475 / Yttem Ottra pintura de Uara y quartta de altto y media Vara de ancho de los dioses de la Genttilidad de mano de el folcio Con marco negro tasado en Zinquentta doblones ... 50

Inv. Felipe V, Palacio Nuevo, 1747. Núm. 126.
PINTURAS EXISTENTES ANTIGUAS [...] En la primera Sala de este Oficio [...] {10344} 126 / Otro en tabla theatro de los dioses de vara y quarta de largo y mas de media de caida original de Bercio en 6 mil res.

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Buen Retiro, 1794. Núm. 113.
{2476} 113. Otra [pintura] de Carlos Chesio, en tabla: Todos los Dioses de la antiguedad, de vara y media quarta de largo y media vara de alto con marco dorado...500

Academia, Sala Reservada, 1827. Núm. 73.
El conclave de los Dioses pintado en tabla. / [Autor] CCH. / [Alto] 1 [pies] 7 [pulgs.] / [Ancho] 3 [pies] 6 [pulgs.]

Inv. Testamentaría Fernando VII, Real Museo, Sala Reservada, 1834. Núm. 66.
SESENTA Y SEIS. Apolo en el concilio de los Dioses. / C. C. H. Yd. [Flamenca] / T. / 6400

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1854-1858. Núm. 1668.

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1668.
C.C.H. esta firma lleva el cuadro que sigue y que era probablemente de Cornelius Cornelisen van-Harlem / 1668. el tribunal de los dioses. / En el centro del cuadro, y en presencia de Jupiter a quien rodea toda la corte del Olimpo, se ve a Apolo que cubriendose la cabeza con el manto, espera resignado el fallo por el cual fue condenado a apacentar los rebaños del rey Admeto. (tabla.) / alto 1 pie, 7 pulg; ancho 3 pies, 6 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1873-1907. Núm. 1390.
1390.-(1668-R.)-El tribunal de los dioses. En presen- / cia de Júpiter, á quien rodea toda la córte del Olim- / po, se ve á Apolo que aguarda resignado la sentencia / por la cual va á ser condenado a apacentar los rebaños / del rey Admeto. / Salvado del incendio del ant. Alc., y como original de Goltzio, formaba / parte de los cuadros del Palacio nuevo que adornaron la R. Academia de San / Fernando, de donde vino al Museo en 1827. / Alto 0,44; ancho 0,98.-T.

Exhibitions +

The Other’s Gaze. Spaces of difference
14.06.2017 - 10.09.2017

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Update date: 16-01-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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