Categories: Paintings |

Latona and the Peasants, by Cornelis van Poelenburgh (1594-1667).

Oil on copper, 17cm by 23cm.

This subject was a popular one in Northern Mannerist art, in its combination of history and genre painting.

According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Latona, when wandering in Lycia, was refused water from a pond by local peasants who stirred up the mud at the bottom, making it impossible for her to drink.

In revenge, she turned them into frogs, doomed forever to swim in murky waters.

The artist, one of the early wave of Dutch painters working in Rome in the 17th Century, specialised in small canvases depicting Italianate landscapes in which mythological or biblical scenes unfolded.

The painting is listed in the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, an inventory recording an enormous bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

The bequest encompassed many wonderful and varied works of art, which immeasurably enriched the Burghley Collections.


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