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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Hendrik Goudt
Dutch, 1583–1648
After Adam Elsheimer
German 1578–1610

The Mocking of Ceres (or Ceres Seeking her Daughter)

Engraving, 1610
William J. Hitchcock Fund in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 1988.45

The work of German artist Adam Elsheimer was an important influence on Dutch artists in the seventeenth century and is partly responsible for introducing chiaroscuro to artists in the Netherlands.

In this print, Hendrik Goudt has transcribed Elsheimer’s mythological subject matter. Using the technique of engraving, Goudt created a haunting scene in which a weary and famished Ceres, the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture and family life, is being taunted by the child Stellio for eagerly drinking a jar of porridge. For the child’s impudence, the angry goddess turns him into a lizard.

In Roman mythology, Ceres’s daughter Proserpina was abducted by Pluto, the god of the Underworld. Ceres searched throughout the world in vain for her daughter. In desperation and revenge Ceres stopped the growth of all fruits and vegetables until her daughter was returned.