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Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon  (steam for the painting
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Title: Saturn devours one of his sons
Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)
Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon
(steam for the painting "The abduction Ganimedov")
Îil on canvas, 1636-1637
180 x 87 cm
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

In 1636 Rubens had received an order for a large series of paintings based on subjects "Metamorphoses" Ovid.
Saturn (Latin: Saturnus) was a major Roman god of agriculture and harvest. In medieval times he was known as the Roman god of agriculture, justice and strength; he held a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right. His mother's name was Helen, or Hel. He was identified in classical antiquity with the Greek deity Cronus, and the mythologies of the two gods are commonly mixed.

Saturn's wife was Ops, Rhea's equivalent – not Magna Mater. Saturn was the father of Ceres, Jupiter, and Veritas, among others. Saturn had a temple on the Forum Romanum which contained the Royal Treasury. Saturn is the namesake of Saturday ("dies Saturni"), the only day of the week to retain its Roman name in English.

Saturn is often identified with the Greek deity Krónos. In Hesiod's "Theogony", a mythological account of the creation of the universe and Zeus' rise to power, Krónos is mentioned as the son of Uranus, the heavens, and Gaia, the earth. Hesiod is an early Greek poet and rhapsode, who presumably lived around 700 BC. He writes that Krónos seizes power, castrating and overthrowing his father Uranus. However, it was foretold that one day a mighty son of Krónos would in turn overthrow him, and Krónos devoured all of his children when they were born to prevent this. Krónos's wife, Rhea, often identified with the Roman goddess Ops, hid her sixth child, Zeus, on the island of Crete, and offered Krónos a large stone wrapped in swaddling clothes in his place; Krónos promptly devoured it. Zeus later overthrew Krónos and the other Titans, becoming the new supreme ruler of the cosmos.

In memory of the Golden Age of man, a mythical age when Saturn was said to have ruled, a great feast called Saturnalia was held during the winter months around the time of the winter solstice. It was originally only one day long, taking place on December 17, but later lasted one week. During Saturnalia, roles of master and slave were reversed, moral restrictions lessened, and the rules of etiquette ignored. It is thought that the festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia were the roots of the carnivalyear.

Although Saturn d greatly over time due to the influence of Greek mythology, he was also one of the few distinct Roman deities to predate and retain elements of his original function. As Thomas Paine wrote:

It is impossible for us now to know at what time the heathen mythology began; but it is certain, from the internal evidence that it carries, that it did not begin in the same state or condition in which it ended. All the gods of that mythology, except Saturn, were of modern invention. The supposed reign of Saturn was prior to that which is called the heathen mythology, and was so far a species of theism that it admitted the belief of only one God. Saturn is supposed to have abdicated the govemment in favour of his three sons and one daughter, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, and Juno; after this, thousands of other gods and demigods were imaginarily created, and the calendar of gods increased as fast as the calendar of saints and the calendar of courts have increased since.

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Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  Assumption of the Virgin Mary  Oil on panel, 1626  490 cm × 325 cm (190 in × 130 in)  Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp, BelgiumPeter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon  (steam for the painting Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek  Oil on wood, 1625  Overall: 65.5 x 82.4 cm (25 13/16 x 32 7/16 in.) framed: 96.8 x 113.4 cm (38 1/8 x 44 5/8 in.)  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA
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