Toledo Museum Home

The Dramatic Image: Baroque Prints of the 17th Century

Bernard Picart
French, 1673–1733

Prometheus Tortured by a Vulture from The Temple of the Muses

Etching, 1731
Museum Purchase, 1984.44

Prometheus was a Titan (a god-like giant, thought to personify a force of nature) who was commanded by Zeus to form man out of mud and water. He went on to give man sacred fire in opposition to the wishes of Zeus. For this indiscretion, Prometheus was bound to the summit of a Caucus mountain where an eagle (or vulture) would tear out his liver every day. At night his liver would rejuvenate and the eagle would return the next day.