- Inventory number
- Rubens, Peter Paul
- Nymphs and Satyrs
- Ca. 1615; 1638-1640
- 139,7 cm x 167 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, Pieza larga, 1666, nº 219; Real Alcázar, Pieza larga de las bobedas, 1686, s.n.; Real Alcázar, Pieza larga de las "bobedas", 1701-1703, nº 371; Real Alcázar [?], Pinturas que se hallaron en las "Bobedas" de Palacio, 1734, nº 684; Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, Pinturas entregadas en dhas. Casas Arzobispales, 1747, nº 199; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, Estudio de don Andrés de la Calleja pintor de su magd., 1772, nº 199; Pinturas que posee la Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, 1796-1805, nº 85; Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, sala reservada, 1827, nº 85; Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Sala Reservada, 1834, nº 53)
Under some trees, a group of Nymphs and Satyrs enjoy Nature in harmony. The Nymphs personify the fecundity of the fields, while the Satyrs live in, and watch over, the woods. Together they harvest the fruits offered by Nature. The water running out of a jug and the horn allude to abundance and prosperity. In the right foreground, a child satyr offers a cluster of grapes to a tiger. This is an allusion to Bacchus, a deity intimately related to the fertility of Nature.
This painting was made during the artist's last productive years, when his works were animated by idyllic and sensual sentiments and were frequently set in lush landscapes. Some of the figures are based on classical sculptures, showing Rubens broad knowledge of classical culture.
This work belonged to the artist until he died in 1640, when it was acquired by Felipe IV and taken to Madrid's Alcázar Palace.