Highlights

Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), The Apotheosis of Aeneas, c. 1617

Jacob Jordaens, The Apotheosis of Aeneas, c. 1617

Jacob Jordaens, The Apotheosis of Aeneas, c. 1617

The subject is from a poem from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

It relates how Aeneas, prince of Troy, was raised to godhood because his mother Venus, goddess of love, convinced Jupiter and the other gods of his merit.

The motif

The painting shows Venus in the process of transforming Aeneas into a god by "upon his lips touching ambrosia and sweet nectar". Behind Venus is a small putto holding a jar. Perhaps it contains the mixture, perhaps the heavenly perfume with which Venus also anoints his son. The foreground shows the river god Numicius and his people engaged in purging Aeneas’ body of all things mortal.

The morale

In Jordaens’ day the story of Aeneas’ apotheosis was interpreted as a tale of how the love one lavishes on one’s parents comes back to you a thousand times

Updated: 15.oct.2014
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