The Roman poet Ovid’s "Metamorphoses" provided Dutch artists with a wide range of mythological subjects, most of which contain underlying moralizing messages on human behavior. Here, Rembrandt depicts the moment when Jupiter and Mercury quietly reveal themselves to the elderly couple Philemon and Baucis, as described in the eighth book of Ovid’s commentaries.
Dressed in exotic and loosely draped robes, Jupiter dominates the scene and takes on a Christ-like appearance that strongly echoes the Christ from Leonardo da Vinci’s "Last Supper," which Rembrandt knew from a print.
How does this representation of Jupiter differ from others you have seen?
Although pictures of Flora by Titian and other Italian artists ultimately inspired this work, Rembrandt rejects their idealizing approach by treating the goddess of Spring as an ordinary woman in fancy dress, with an expression betraying real experience.
Featured Artwork of the Day: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, 1606–1669) | Flora | ca. 1654 http://met.org/1ciKMAK