The Feast of Acheloüs

Peter Paul Rubens Flemish
and Jan Brueghel the Elder Netherlandish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 613

Rubens and Brueghel collaborated on several mythological and religious pictures that showcased their respective skills. In this panel, Rubens designed and painted the figures and Brueghel painted everything else, revealing his gifts as a landscape and still-life painter. Here, the river god Acheloüs explains to the Greek hero Theseus that his former lover Perimele has been transformed into a distant island by Neptune so that she could remain forever within the river’s embrace. The artists combined classical learning, nudes based partly on ancient sculpture, the wonders of nature, and the mastery of craft into an encyclopedic display meant for a sophisticated collector.

The Feast of Acheloüs, Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, Siegen 1577–1640 Antwerp), Oil on wood

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