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Giove e Callisto

Gaspar Netscher (Heidelberg, 1639 – L'Aia, 1684), Atelier di

Gaspar Netscher (Heidelberg, 1639 - The Hague, 1684), Atelier of

Jupiter and Callisto
To seduce the nymph Callisto, Jupiter takes on the appearance of Diana (from Ovid, Metamorphoses, II, 404-507)

Oil on canvas
65 x 50 cm.
Framed 76 x 61 cm.
D23-006 € 4.900 Request information

The beautiful mythological composition we show here is based on the famous 'Jupiter and Callisto' painted around 1670 by Caspar Netscher (Heidelberg, 1639 - The Hague, 1684), one of the leading artists of the Flemish Golden Age. Best known as a portrait painter of many illustrious personalities of his time, including William of Orange, Mary II of England and Madame de Montespan, he also devoted himself to historical and mythological subjects.

The myth proposed here is one of the most fascinating and romantic, also narrated by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (II, 404-507), where he deals with the theme of love, overwhelming and deceptive at the same time, between Callisto, one of the nymphs most devoted to the goddess of the hunt Diana, and Jupiter.

We are in a lush forest when Jupiter sees Callisto lying in repose in all her beauty, and falls madly in love with her. He therefore decides to seduce her, assuming the guise of the goddess Diana, the only one to whom the nymph would give herself [1].

Behind Diana, surrounded by her faithful greyhounds, appears Love, who is about to put on a mask (alluding to Jupiter's deception), accompanied by an eagle, a bird sacred to Jupiter and intended to reveal his identity.

Although Netscher's prototype has been lost, we know this iconography from prints of the same subject; we can mention the one in the British Museum made by Jan Verkolje (, or from the various paintings with this subject on the market. These include a work by the atelier passed at Sotheby's (New York City) 1995-10-06 lot no. 86 (,

As far as the attribution of our beautiful version is concerned, we are inclined to attribute it to a painter who gravitated around Netscher's workshop, presumably one of his pupils, among whom we can mention two of his sons, Theodor and Constantijn, as well as Johannes Vollevens, Daniel Haring and Jacob van der Does, or to a painter from his circle and active at a later date.

The work reveals a mastery certainly drawn from the master: the habit of depicting female figures dressed in shiny satin, in imitation of Ter Borch, with simple, delicate features and light, bright colours, the accurate rendering of materials (Callisto's deep blue gold brocade dress is unmistakable), influenced by Delft painters such as De Hooch and Vermeer.

Netscher's works appear in most of the world's great museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Louvre in Paris, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Uffizi in Florence, the Colonna in Rome and many, many more.

[1] From that encounter Callisto gives birth to a son, Arcade, unleashing the wrath of Diana, who hunts her down, but also Juno, who decides to take revenge by turning her into a bear. Later, Arcade, now 15 years old, came across the bear during a hunting trip and just as he was about to kill her, Jupiter intervenes, transforming them both into two constellations, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.


The painting is in excellent conservation condition.
The work is sold complete with a beautiful gilded wooden frame and comes with a certificate of authenticity and descriptive iconographic card.

We take care of and organise the transport of the purchased works, both for Italy and abroad, through professional and insured carriers.

It is also possible to see the painting in the gallery in Riva del Garda, we will be happy to welcome you to show you our collection of works.

Contact us, without obligation, for any additional information.

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