The Feast of the Gods at the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche

Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish, Mühlbracht 1558–1617 Haarlem)

After Bartholomeus Spranger (Netherlandish, Antwerp 1546–1611 Prague)
Engraving printed from three plates; second state
16-15/16 x 33-5/8 in. (43.0 x 85.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, Martha Feltenstein Gift, and A. Hyatt Mayor Purchase Fund, Marjorie Phelps Starr Bequest, 2000
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Comprising about seventy figures and printed from three engraved plates, this print was the largest and most famous of the Haarlem engraver's collaborations with Bartholomeus Spranger, court painter to Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. The daring composition—a bravura display of elegant twisting and turning figures—was of great importance in disseminating Spranger's Mannerist aesthetic and Goltzius's virtuoso engraving style throughout Europe. As is typical of Mannerist works, the main subjects of the scene are placed in the background: the small figures of Cupid with large wings and his bride, Psyche, the mortal beauty who is being admitted to the ranks of the gods, are at the head of the table in the center. The wedding guests surround the couple; Bacchus pours the drinks, while Apollo and the Muses serenade the company. The drawing for the print is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

  • Provenance

    Vendor: Paul McCarron

  • Exhibition History

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 11, 2000–June 25, 2000.

  • Catalogue Raisonné

    Hollstein 322, second state of four

  • References

    Adam von Bartsch Le peintre gravure. 1854-1876, cat. no. Bartsch.III.85.2.

    Eugène Dutuit Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes. Paris, 1884-, cat. no. Dutuit.IV.453.27.

    F. W. H. Hollstein Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts. vols. 1-64, Amsterdam, 1954–2010, cat. no. VIII.111.322 II.

    Verzeichnis des Graphischen Werks von Hendrick Goltzius 1558-1617. Leipzig, 1921, cat. no. Hirsch.142.322.

    Carmen C. Bambach, Colta Ives, Nadine Orenstein, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1999-2000." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 58, no. 20, Fall 2000, p. 28, ill.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History