Minerva victorious over Ignorance

around 1593, Artist: Bartholomäus Spranger



Minerva victorious over Ignorance

Minerva, Goddess of the arts and science, is at the centre of the painting. Her uncovered breasts characterise her as “sapientia lactans”, as the nourishing mother of wisdom. She has conquered the donkey-eared ignorance. However, her body posture recalls the resurrected Christ. She triumphs over dark forces and turns into the embodiment of the highest human ideals. The refined colouring and the elegant pose are both features of Rudolfinian courtly art.

Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Kabinett 22

Object data

Object Name





around 1593


Bartholomäus Spranger (1546 Antwerpen - 1611 Prag) - GND




163 cm × 117 cm
Framed (gallery frame): 180 cm × 133 cm × 6,5 cm

Image rights

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Gemäldegalerie

Inv. No.

Gemäldegalerie, 1133


From the treasury of Rudolf II; 1747/1748 in the Schatzkammer

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