Jupiter and Antiope is a remarkable picture, both for Goltzius's masterful handling of paint and brush and his frankly erotic treatment of the subject. It is a work that seduces the viewer on various levels, cerebral and physical.
In 1600, when he abandoned printmaking and began painting, Goltzius was the most famous engraver in the Netherlands and perhaps all of Europe. His style had evolved from the extreme contortions of Haarlem Mannerism toward the more classicizing influence of Italy, where he had lived from 1590 to 1591. However, it was painting, not printmaking, that was considered the highest art form, and at the dawn of the new century Goltzius decided to take up the challenge of working in a new medium. As Nichols notes, due to Goltzius's years of training in the graphic arts, even his earliest paintings were very accomplished,1 but he did grow more comfortable with the medium over the years exhibiting a greater command over his brushwork and use of color. In the seventeen years before his death he painted more than 50 pictures and was soon recognized as the premiere painter in Haarlem, surpassing his rival Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem.
The subject of Jupiter and Antiope appears, with some variations, in a number of classical texts: Jupiter, disguised as a satyr, seduces the beautiful young Antiope, who subsequently bears him twin sons, Amphion and Zethus. As was the case in most of Jupiter's conquests, Antiope was then hounded by vengeful relatives and was only rescued after many years by her adult sons. Goltzius's painting, like the majority of representations from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries is based on the brief account in Ovid, Metamorphoses VI, 110-111, which deals solely with the seduction. In the present work Antiope sprawls on her bed, propped up by a stack of gorgeously colored cushions. She is naked apart from her earrings, a pearl necklace and a tiny strip of transparent drapery that accentuates rather than hides her nudity. At her feet kneels Jupiter in the form of a satyr, his look and attitude that of a half-wild creature consumed by lust. He stares fixedly at Antiope, his mouth in a rigid grin and his arms and back tensed, literally ready to pounce. Lying on the ground to his left is his thunderbolt, its glowing prongs a visual substitute for Jupiter's own state of excitement. In his right hand he holds an apple and some pears – an offering to Antiope -- which like the grapes in the foreground, are symbols of fertility. Scattered throughout the composition are other references to the event that is about to occur, including the inverted slippers beside Jupiter's knee and the overturned chamber pot (here made of crystal) both of which represent female sexual organs.
In the background of the painting is a somewhat ambiguous figure – a young satyr, partly hidden by a curtain of red silk, who holds his left index finger to his lip while lightly pinching Antiope's nipple between his right thumb and forefinger. Most commentators have described the former gesture as a caution to Jupiter to be quiet, but it is difficult to reconcile this to the actions involved. Surely his pinching would have disturbed Antiope far more than Jupiter's mere presence. Xander van Eyck recently recognized that the young satyr is, in fact, pointing at his mouth from below, symbolizing "eating" or "putting in the mouth", and it is Antiope who is going to be devoured, not the fruit in Jupiter's hand.2
Despite the inscription ANTIOPA on the gold drapery and the presence of Jupiter's thunderbolt, the subject of this painting has, in the past, been misidentified. The auction catalogue of 1792, refers to the present work as a sleeping Venus on her bed spied upon by a satyr and much later Bredius described it as Danaë.3 Representations of Jupiter and Antiope and the sleeping Venus are easily confused because the main elements of the narratives are so similar: a lust-filled satyr staring at a beautiful sleeping woman.
Jupiter and Antiope is one of a number of large scale paintings of nudes that Goltzuis made between 1600 and 1617. In size and composition it is closest to the Danaë of 1603 in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (fig. 1). In both pictures the heroines are asleep and very much on display for Jupiter and the viewer: set on a luxurious pile of cushions they are there for the taking. Goltzius uses similar motifs in both compositions, including a curtain enveloping the spying figures and the symbolically overturned slippers. However, in the story of Danaë, Jupiter appears as a shower of gold not as a living being, and as a result the focus on him as a creature overtaken by passion is entirely lacking. The Los Angeles picture is not simply a depiction of the loves of the gods, but also a complex allegory on the power of money, complete with putti clutching bulging purses and the overflowing coffer in the lower left corner. Goltzius's inclusion of numerous observers and particularly the grinning figure of Mercury, who was not included in Ovid's tale, creates a different atmosphere than that of Jupiter and Antiope. The tone is lighter and more cerebral, less focused on the physical. As such it has echoes of his earlier Mannerist compositions, like the engraving Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan, with its complicated space and wild gesturing figures.
By the second decade of the seventeenth century, Goltzius had further simplified his style from that of his post-Italian period. In contrast to Danaë, Goltzius sets Jupiter and Antiope on a clearly defined and narrow shelf of space. As in his two versions of Vertumnus and Pomona of 1613 and 1615, in the Rijksmuseum and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, respectively, or Venus Spied Upon by a Satyr of 1616 in the Louvre, the figures are nearly life-sized and the focus is on the interaction of the two main characters. Jupiter is a powerful figure, whose pose is reminiscent of the Belvedere torso and Antiope is a full-figured woman, far removed from the elongated nymphs of Goltzius's Mannerist period. Various commentators have cited Rubens as an influence on Goltzius during this period, and the two artists actually met in Haarlem in June 1612, the year the present work was painted. But while Rubens's work was certainly known in the northern Netherlands, Goltzius's turning towards greater classicism was also part of a larger trend with indigenous roots. Rubens was, of course, later known for his voluptuous nudes, but at this period he was more restrained. His figure of Venus, in Sine Cerere et Baccho Friget Venus in Kassel, of circa 1612-13, for example, is a more athletic than seductive figure, particularly when compared to Antiope. In truth the open sexuality and directness of Jupiter and Antiope is not to be found in any of Rubens's paintings. It is tempting to think that in this instance Goltzius might have influenced Rubens rather than the reverse.
There are, indeed, identifiable sources for the present work. Antiope's gesture, in which she draws her arm over her head, derives from antique prototypes and signifies helplessness. Goltzius himself made a drawing of such a figure, the So-called Cleopatra (Reznicek K214), – a Hellenistic sculpture in the Vatican – which he saw when he was in Italy. The touchstone for later sixteenth and seventeenth century representations of both Jupiter and Antiope and Venus and a Satyr is generally agreed to be Titian's Pardo Venus in the Louvre. However, Annibale Carracci's 1592 etching Venus and a Satyr (fig. 2) would have provided a closer model for Goltzius. The similarities between the picture and the print are striking, including the use of a curtain partly hiding the young satyr/Cupid, the open landscape in the distance and the crouching pose of the satyr/Jupiter as he gazes mesmerized at the sleeping Venus/Antiope. Another popular print source would have been Jacopo Caraglio's pornographic Love of the Gods, which included several scenes of recumbent nudes and lecherous observers. There is also Goltzius's own astonishingly direct drawing of a sleeping nude in a private United States collection(fig. 3). It was drawn in 1594, but Goltzius undoubtedly referred back to it when painting Jupiter and Antiope.
More than a product of outside influences, Jupiter and Antiope is a culmination of Goltzius's lifelong study of the female nude. Sluijter even notes that when Goltzius began to use live models for his nudes he was considered lascivious and immoral in some circles.4 Here, using the framework of a classical story, he has pushed beyond Mannerism and beyond the restraints of Classicism as well to create a work of astonishing beauty and remarkable sensuality.
A note on the provenance
The first record we have of Jupiter and Antiope was July 16, 1792, in the auction catalogue of the collection of Jan Wubbels, presumably the eighteenth century marine painter of that name. The picture was misidentified as a "Sleeping Venus spied on by a Satyr with additional elements, powerfully and masterfully painted" (Een slaapended Venus op haar Rustbeede, bespied wordende door een Zater verders eenig bywerk kragtig en meesterlyk gepenseeld). It was clearly admired for it fetched 30 guilders, nearly twice as much another painting by Goltzius, Lot and His Daughters, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.5
The next mention of the work was not until 1915, when Bredius misidentified it in an article in Oud Holland, confusing it with the Danaë but Hirschmann corrected his error in the next issue of the periodical.6 Neither of the two art historians knew where the picture was at this point, but it may already have been in the collection of Abraham Adelsberger, a German Jewish businessman. Born in Hockenheim in 1863 , he married and moved to Nuremberg in 1893. The city was the center of the German toy industry and Adelsberger founded Heinrich Fischer & Co., whose stamped tin toys are still prized today. Adelsberger's family left Germany in 1934 to escape persecution, but he remained until 1938 when the horror of Kristallnacht caused him to flee to Amsterdam. He died in 1940 and the following year his son-in-law was forced to sell Jupiter and Antiope to one of Göring's agents in order to have enough money for the family to live. In 1943 they went into hiding but Clothilde, Adelsberger's widow, was picked up by the Nazis and sent to Bergen Belsen. Miraculously she and the others all survived.
Jupiter and Antiope had meanwhile entered Göring's collection and hung in Carinhall, his country retreat. In 1945 he had all his art removed to hide it from the advancing Russian troops, and it was eventually discovered in Berchtesgarden by the American forces along with the other works hidden there. The Allies shipped it to the Dutch government in 1946 and the painting remained in its custody until 2009, when it was restituted to the heirs of Abraham Adelsberger.
Although today Goltzius's brilliance is recognized and his works are correspondingly sought after, when Abraham Adelsberger acquired Jupiter and Antiope the artist was largely unrecognized. The taste for Mannerism had not survived the early seventeenth century and Dutch classicism was an unknown term. The painting itself stands out from the rest of his collection for his primary interest was Meissen figurines, and those pictures he did have are mainly German masters of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We can only speculate that the tremendous power of Jupiter and Antiope caused him to step out of his usual collecting area and be grateful that the picture was rescued and kept safe for future generations.
I am grateful to Lawrence W. Nichols for his invaluable help in the preparation of this note, particularly with regard to the lengthy publication and exhibition history of the picture. He will be including Jupiter and Antiope in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné.
1. L.W. Nichols in Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617): Drawings, Prints and Paintings, exhibition catalogue 2003-04, p. 270.
2. See Literature, X. van Eyck
3. See Literature, Bredius.
4. See Literature, E.J. Sluijter (2000), p. 156.
5. See Literature, L.W Nichols (1999), p. 67, note 3.
6. See Literature . Hirschmann, who had received a photograph of the work from Bredius then correctly described it as Jupiter and Antiope.
Oil on canvas
Hendrick Hendrik Goltzius Gols Goltius Goltz Golzius
Venlo, Kunstkring, Hendrick Goltzius, November 15 - December 1958, no. 8;
Laren, Singer Museum, Modernen van toen 1570-1630: vlaamse schilderkunst en haar invloed, June 15 - September 1,1963, no. 79;
Kevelaer, Niederreinisches Museum für Volkskunde un Kulturgeschichte, Hendrick Goltzius ,1558-1617, May 26 - November 5, 1973;
Gouda, Catharina Gasthuis, Slapen, 1978
Utrecht, Kunsthistorisch Instituut, on loan 1952-78;
Groningen, Groninger Museum, Stad en Lande, 1979;
Groningen, Groninger Museum, on loan 1979-85;
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Goltzius als schilder; Restauratie, techniek en betenkenis van een aantal schilderijen uit de verzameling, 1985-85;
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Hollands Classicisme in de zeventiende-eeuwse schilderkunst, September 25, 1999 - April 30, 2000, no. 1;
Athens, National Gallery/Alexander Soutzos Museum; Athens, Netherlands Institute; and Dordrecht, Dordrecht Museum, Greek Gods and Heroes in the Age of Rubens and Rembrandt, September 28, 2000 - May 8, 2001, no. 27;
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, on loan 1985-2009.
48 by 70 in.; 122 by 178 cm.
A. Bredius, "Bijdragen tot de geschiedenis van Hendrick Goltzius," in Oud Holland, vol 32, 1914, p. 146, incorrectly identified as Danaë;
O. Hirschmann, "Zwei Gemälde von Hendrick Golzius," in Oud Holland, vol. 33, 1915, pp. 129-131, reproduced;
O. Hirschmann, Hendrick Goltzius als Maler 1600-1617, The Hague 1916, p. 82, no. 28, reproduced fig. 12, as location unknown;
C. M. A. A. Lindeman, Joachim Anthonisz. Wtewael, Utrecht 1929, p. 218;
E. Kieser, "Über Rembrandts Verhältnis zur Antike," in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeshichte, vol. 10, 1941-42, p. 161, no. 22;
E. Michel, Catalogue raisonné des peintures du Moyen Age, de la Renaissance et des temps moderns. Peintures flamandes du XVe et du XVIe siècle, Paris 1953, pp. 126-127;
E. Haverkamp Begemann , Willem Buytewech, Amsterdam 1959, p. 9;
E.K.J Reznicek, Die Zeichnungen von Hendrick Goltzius. Mit einem beschreibenden Katalog, Utrecht 1961, vol. 2, p. 219 and note 83 and pp. 282-83;
H. Gerson, "Goltzius", in Kindler's Malerei Lexikon, vol. 2, 1965, p. 699;
T. Gerzi, "Goltzius und Jan Muller: Beiträge zu ihrer Zeichenkunst", in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, vol. 23, 1972, p. 49;
T. Gerzi, "Ein spätes Prachtwerk von Goltzius" in Album Amicorum J. G. van Gelder, The Hague 1973, p. 126, fig. 5;
M. van de Vlist, Goltzius als Schilder, doctoral dissertation, University of Utrecht, 1974, pp. 40-41, no. 17;
H. Miedema, "De nimf en de dienstmeid: een realistisch genre?", in Oud Holland, 1976, vol. 90, p. 266;
F. Baligand, Peinture Hollandaise, Douai, 1978-79, p. 30;
L.W. Nichols, "Job in Distress, a newly discovered Painting by Hendrick Goltzius", in Simiolus, 1983, vol. 13, p.182 and note 3;
I.Q. van Regstern Altena, Jaques de Gheyn, Three Generations, The Hague, Boston and London 1983, vol. 2, p.129;
L.W. Nichols, "Onsterfelijkheid in smetteloos naakt -- Goltzius als schilder", in Goltzius als schilder -- Kunstschrift, Openbaar Kunstbezit, vol. 29, 1985, no. 5, p.16, reproduced fig. 11;
E. J. Sluijter, De 'heydensche fabulen' in de Noordnerlandse schilderkunst, circa 1590-1670. Een proeve van beschrijving en interpretatie van schilderijen met verhalende onderwerpen uit de klassieke mythologie, doctoral dissertation, University of Leiden, The Hague 1986, pp. 42-43, 50, 131, 255, 281, 380 note 43-1 and 438 note 100-5, reproduced fig. 195;
I.M. Veldman, "Who Is the Strongest? The riddle of Esdras in Netherlandish art," in Simiolus, vol. 17, 1987, p. 237;
L.W. Nichols, The Paintings of Hendrick Goltzius (1557-1617), doctoral dissertation, Columbia University 1990, pp. 112, 116, 118-20, 125, 128, 134 and 209, cat. no. A-31, fig. 25;
E. J. Sluijter, "Vertumnus en Pomona door Hendrick Goltzius (1613) en Jan Tengnagel (1617). Constanten en contrasten in vorm en inhoud", in Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, vol. 39, 1991, p. 387, note 21; reprinted in English as "Vertumnus and Pomona by Hendrick Goltzius (1613) and Jan Tengnagel (1617): Constants and Contracts in Form and Content," in Seductress of Sight, Studies in Dutch Art of the Golden Age, Zwolle 2000;
Old Master Paintings. An illustrated summary catalogue [of] The Netherlands office for Fine Art The Hague, Zwolle and The Hague 1992, p. 108, fig. 812;
E.J. Sluijter, "Venus, Visus en Pictura", in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek (Goltzius-studies: Hendrick Goltzius [1558-1617]), vol. 42-43,1991-92, pp. 361, 376, 380, 392, 394, notes 215 and 216, fig. 281; reprinted in English as "Venus, Visus and Pictura" in Seductress of Sight, Studies in Dutch Art of the Golden Age, Zwolle 2000;
E. Hendricks, A. van Grevenstein, K Groen, 'The Painting Technique of Four Paintings by Hendrick Goltzius and the Introduction of Coloured Ground', in Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek: Goltzius-studies (Hendrick Goltzius [1558-1617]), 1991-92, vol. 42-43, pp. 481-497, passim, figs, 331, 335e, 338, 339a and 339d;
P.J.J. van Thiel, Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, 1562-1638. A Monograph and Catalogue Raisonné, Doornspijk 1999, pp. 128 and 141 note 161;
Dutch Classicism in Seventeenth Century Paintings [the English language edition of Hollands Classicisme in de zeventiende-eeuwse schilderkunst], exhibition catalogue Rotterdam and Frankfurt, 1999, pp. 16-17, 64-67 and 154, no.1, reproduced;
Greek Gods and Heroes in the Age of Rubens and Rembrandt, exhibition catalogue, Athens and Dordrecht 2000, pp. 49 and 210-211, no. 27, reproduced;
X. van Eck, "Review. Gods and Heroes: Athens and Dordrecht", in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 143, no. 1177, April 2001, p. 242, reproduced;
E.E. van Duijn, "The story of Goltzius's Jupiter and Antiope. A study into its conservation history", in Interdisciplinair tijdschrift voor conservering en restauratie, vol. 6/3, 2005, pp. 32-38;
E. Hendricks and E. Torringa, in Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: The collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem 2006, pp. 80, 90, 445-46, no. 149, reproduced;
N.H. Yeide, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice, The Hermann Goering Collection, Dallas 2009, p. 376, no. A1149, reproduced p. 165;
to be included in L.W. Nichols forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Goltzius's paintings as cat. no. A-37.
His sale, Amsterdam, Van der Schley and Ten Kate, July 16, 1792, lot 126, for 30 guilders, to Ijver;
Possibly private collection Zurich;
Art market Zurich, 1906;
Abraham Adelsberger (1863-1940), Nuremberg and Amsterdam;
His sale, Munich, Hugo Helbing, October 8, 1930, lot. 52 (unsold);
His further sale, Munich, Hugo Helbing, December 9, 1931, lot 413 (unsold);
Alfred Isay (the son-in-law of Abraham Adelsberger), Amsterdam, February-November 1941;
With D. A. Hoogendijk & Co., Amsterdam, 1941;
From whom acquired by Hermann Göring, Carinhall, through Walter Andreas Hofer, December 1941 for 20,000 guilders;
Recovered by Allied forces, Munich Central Collecting Point, 1946;
Returned to the custody of the Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit, 1946 (NK2425);
Utrecht, Kunsthistorisch Instituut, on loan 1952-78;
Groningen, Groninger Museum, on loan 1979-85;
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, on loan 1985-2009:
Restituted to the heirs of Abraham Adelsberger, 2009