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The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Bernard Picart
French, 1673–1733

Ixion’s Wheel from The Temple of the Muses

Etching, 1731
Museum Purchase, 1984.48

While dining with Zeus and Hera and other Olympian gods, Ixion, the king of the Lapithae (a mythical race reputed to live in Thessaly), was consumed with lust for Hera. In his delirium, Ixion coupled with a cloud (Nephele) that Zeus had created in the likeness of Hera. From this union the part-human, part-horse Centaurs were born. As punishment for his impudence, Ixion was perpetually bound to a fiery wheel that revolves in the night sky.

This and the other Bernard Picart prints featured here come from The Temple of the Muses, a portfolio of sixty etchings and engravings designed and executed by Picart over a three year period. The first edition was published in 1733, but proved so popular that many subsequent editions were released.