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Storytelling in Miniature

Heinrich Aldegrever
German, 1502–about 1561

Helios/Sol, from “The Gods Who Preside Over the Seven Planets”

Engraving, 1533
3 7/8 x 2 1/2 in.
Gift of Carl B. Spitzer, 1938.46

Sol (Helios) was the Roman god of the sun and sometimes associated with Apollo. In this print Sol is enthroned, wearing a crown and holding a scepter across his right shoulder. Sol was worshipped, in part, as the god who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky each day. His son Phaeton kneels before him in supplication. Phaeton is perhaps begging forgiveness for trying to drive his father’s chariot. According to the myth, Phaeton could not control the horses, and the god Zeus stopped him from destroying the earth by striking him with a thunderbolt.