Highlights

Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), Achelous Defeated by Hercules. The Origin of the Cornucopia, 1649

Jacob Jordaens, Achelous Defeated by Hercules. The Origin of the Cornucopia, 1649

Jacob Jordaens, Achelous Defeated by Hercules. The Origin of the Cornucopia, 1649

In a landscape of meadows and copses a group of nymphs and satyrs are filling a bull’s horn with flowers, grains, and fruit. The horn is that of the river god of Achelous, who turned into a bull in his endeavours to vanquish Hercules in a dual for the hand of Deianeira. But Hercules bested him and broke off one of his horns as easily as he strangled the snake shape originally adopted by the god. The painting shows Achelous in his bull form. He watches the nature deities’ labour alongside Hercules, who is dressed in a lion’s pelt and leans on his club.

Jordaens based the painting on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where Achelois tell his story, which is concluded by the story of Hercules’ triumph and the origin of the cornucopia: "The Naiads filled my horn with fruits and fragrant flow-ers./Now it is dedicated to the gracious goddess of plenty!"

Updated: 26.aug.2014
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