The Fall of Phaeton
The gods in the heavens are in turmoil. Phaeton has taken Apollo’s sun chariot for a ride, but the horses are bolting and are pulling the chariot too close to the earth. The earth is becoming far too hot – rivers are drying up, plants are becoming scorched and people are overheating. Mother Earth, in the orange and green dress, begs the supreme god Zeus for mercy. The latter hurls a thunderbolt towards Phaeton to make him stop.
The German artist Hans Rottenhammer painted the scene on copper, an extremely smooth base that lends itself well to fine details and vivid colours.
oil no copper
39 x 54.5 cm.
Collection William V, transferred 1816