The Philadelphia Museum of Art. Purchased with the Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Annenberg Fund for Major Acquisitions, the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, bequest (by exchange) of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert C. Morris, and gift (by exchange) of Frank and Alice Osborn, 1990

Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus

Hendrick Goltzius, ca. 1600 — 1603
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Yes, this is a painting – even though it looks like an engraving. And yes, it is a nocturnal scene, even though the figures are flooded in the light emanating from the torch. In this work from around 1600, Hendrick Goltzius displays all his artistry, making this one of his most outstanding works in every respect, in an age when virtuosity was paramount in art. The penwork, the calligraphic lines, the range of colors from a cool blue to a warm, almost golden light, the effects of the flickering torch, all these elements make the painting the epitome of superior craftmanship. And although the iconography of Venus accompanied by Ceres and Bacchus was traditional, the technique used by Goltzius was without precedent.

Jef Schaeps, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Prentenkabinet Universiteit Leiden in Leiden, Netherlands

Explore more

High Resolution Images

See the tiniest details

View on Google Arts & Culture