About this artwork
The subject of the victory of the gods of Olympus over the ancient race of giants provided Joachim Wtewael with the opportunity to depict exaggerated athletic poses and striking contrasts of space and light. From the clouds, the Olympian gods wield their attributes as weapons: Jupiter hurls thunderbolts; Neptune brandishes his triton; and Mercury uses his caduceus as a spear. The helmeted figure on the right is Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and war. The painting’s gemlike effect results from the use of a copper support and from its small scale. The artist’s self-conscious display of his skills was a hallmark of the international style known as Mannerism, which was fashionable in Holland around 1600.
- Joachim Antonisz. Wtewael
- The Battle between the Gods and the Giants
- Oil on copper
- 6 1/8 × 8 in. (15.6 × 20.3 cm)
- Through prior acquisition of the George F. Harding Fund