This fall, with The Wrath of the Gods exhibition, The Philadelphia Museum of Art takes you on a journey through the mythological artwork of Renaissance Europe that inspired its beloved Peter Paul Rubens masterpiece, Prometheus Bound. Prometheus Bound depicts the punishment of Prometheus, who in Greek mythology stole fire from the gods on Mount Olympus to give to humanity. In the myth, Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, punishes Prometheus by chaining him to a rock forever, where an eagle eats his perpetually regenerating liver on a daily basis, as shown in the painting. The exhibition will also display highlights like Michelangelo’s famous drawing Tityus beside Titian’s version of Tityus, the largest nonreligious painting of the Renaissance, alongside a number of other important drawings, paintings, and sculptures.
Rubens’ completed Prometheus Bound in 1618 and worked in close collaboration with famous animal and still-life painter Frans Snyders. The violent scene is depicted in vivid detail, with the giant eagle ferociously clawing and biting the chained Prometheus as he collapses in agony. While the enormous, 95.5-inch-tall painting is considered a masterpiece, it has never before been displayed in an exhibition specifically devoted to it or its inspirations.
The Wrath of the Gods shows how Rubens’ talent for artwork displaying physicality, color and movement was inspired and shaped by Italian Renaissance masters like Michelangelo and Titian, as well as antique sculptures. A full-scale cast of the Vatican’s sculpture Laocoön, on loan from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, demonstrates this point. Additional works on display include paintings from northern European artists Hendrik Goltzius and Michiel Coxcie as well as sketches from Jacob Jordaen, among many others.
The Wrath of the Gods is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from September 12th to December 6th. Click here for more information.
What: The Wrath of Gods Exhibition, a collection of works that inspired Peter Paul Ruben’s masterpiece Prometheus Bound
Where: The Philadelphia Museum of Art
When: September 12 to December 6, 2015