An image of The dragon devouring the companions of Cadmus

Hendrick Goltzius

(Netherlands 1558 – 1617)

after Cornelis van Haarlem

(Netherlands 1562 – 1638)

The dragon devouring the companions of Cadmus

Location
Not on display
Further information

Goltzius was the greatest exponent of Dutch Mannerism, renowned in the Netherlands and elsewhere for his technical skill and virtuosity. This gruesome scene was inspired by the story of Cadmus in Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. Cadmus was sent by the Delphic Oracle to follow a cow and build a city at the first place it decided to lie down. The cow eventually collapsed at the future site of Thebes. When Cadmus sent his men to fetch water, they were killed by a dragon guarding the spring. Cadmus then slew the dragon, as seen in the background. On the advice of the goddess Athena he sowed the dragon’s teeth in the soil, from which armed men sprung up. Five of them became the ancestors of the Thebans.

Year
1588
Media
Print
Medium
engraving
Dimensions
26.0 x 30.7 cm sheet
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Credit
European Art Collection Benefactors' Fund 2010
Accession number
517.2010
Provenance
R.E. Lewis & Daughter, Original Prints, San Rafael/California/United States of America, Purchased by the AGNSW from R.E. Lewis & Daughter, Original Prints 2010