For this companion piece of Hercules and Omphale the artist chose the divine sphere as the setting for this erotically charged rendezvous. Repeatedly identified as Zeus, the bearded deity is, in fact, Vulcan, the god of fire and metalworking – this is clearly indicated by the pieces of armour and the sledgehammer. His female companion is generally identified as Maia, an ancient Italian goddess of spring, which would agree with her cornucopia and garland of corn. Spranger may have copied the lascivious pose of the goddess (who continues to live on in the name of the month of May) from an engraving by Agostino Veneziano depicting Cleopatra’s suicide. Inv.-Nr. GG 1128
Overall: 22,2 cm × 17,5 cm × 0,1 cm
Framed: 34,5 cm × 29,5 cm × 3,2 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie
Treasury of Rudolf II.
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