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The Fall of Phaeton from the Ovid's Metamorphoses Art Print

The story of Phaeton and his fall from the heavens is one of the most well-known and enduring myths from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The myth centers around Phaeton, the son of the sun god, Helios, and a mortal woman named Clymene. Phaeton, who is described as handsome and intelligent, becomes convinced of his divine ancestry and decides to prove it to the world by attempting to drive his father's chariot, the sun, across the sky. 

The story begins with Phaeton approaching his father and asking for proof of his divine lineage. Helios, who is initially hesitant to reveal the truth about Phaeton's parentage, ultimately agrees and offers to grant his son one wish as proof of his divine heritage. Phaeton, full of pride and confidence, asks to drive his father's chariot for a day.

Helios, realizing the danger of such a request, tries to discourage Phaeton from this reckless undertaking. He tells his son that driving the sun is a task that even the gods find difficult and that the horses that pull the chariot are fierce and uncontrollable. Despite these warnings, Phaeton persists, insisting that he will be able to handle the task.

Helios, seeing that he cannot dissuade his son, reluctantly agrees and gives Phaeton the reins to the chariot. As Phaeton sets off on his journey, he quickly realizes the truth of his father's warnings. The horses are unruly and difficult to control, and Phaeton finds himself struggling to keep the chariot on course.

As he navigates the sky, Phaeton begins to lose control of the horses and the chariot veers off course, causing the earth below to be subjected to extreme heat and cold as the sun moves closer or farther away. The oceans boil, the mountains catch fire, and the crops wither and die.

The other gods, seeing the chaos that Phaeton has caused, decide to intervene and stop the reckless young man from causing any more damage. Zeus, the king of the gods, hurls a lightning bolt at the chariot, causing it to crash to the earth and killing Phaeton instantly.

The myth of Phaeton and his fall from the heavens is often interpreted as a cautionary tale about the dangers of hubris and overconfidence. Phaeton, convinced of his own abilities and determined to prove his divine ancestry, ignores the warnings of those around him and ultimately pays the price for his arrogance.

But the myth also serves as a reminder of the power and majesty of the natural world, and the importance of respecting and understanding the forces that shape it. The sun, which is depicted as being a force of both life and destruction in the myth, serves as a symbol of the power of the natural world and the dangers of attempting to control it.

The myth of Phaeton and his fall from the heavens is also notable for the way it blends elements of Greek and Roman mythology, with Helios being a Greek god and Zeus being a Roman god. This blending of mythological traditions is characteristic of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which is known for its incorporation of a wide range of myths and legends from various cultures and traditions.

To summarize, the ancient myth regarding Phaeton and his ultimate demise serves as a warning to all about the potential repercussions of exuberant pride and excessive confidence, and the importance of respecting and understanding the forces of the natural world. It is a testament to the enduring appeal and relevance of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and a testament to the enduring power of myth to shape our understanding of the world around us.


The Artist

Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) was a Dutch artist and printmaker who was one of the leading figures in the late 16th century movement known as Mannerism. Goltzius was born in the town of Middelburg in the Netherlands, and received his early artistic training from his father, who was also an artist. He later studied with the renowned artist, Hendrick Goltzius, who was known for his highly detailed and meticulous engravings.

Goltzius became known for his skill as a printmaker, particularly in the medium of engraving. He was renowned for his ability to create highly detailed and finely crafted prints, which often featured complex compositions and intricate details. Goltzius's prints often depicted classical and mythological themes, and were highly sought after by collectors and patrons of the arts.

In addition to his work as a printmaker, Goltzius was also a talented painter and draftsman. He was known for his skill in creating highly ornate and detailed works, which often featured elaborate compositions and expressive figures. Goltzius's paintings and drawings were also highly sought after, and he received numerous commissions from wealthy patrons throughout Europe.

Goltzius's work had a significant impact on the development of art in the Netherlands and Europe during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His highly detailed and ornate style was influential on other artists of the time, and his prints and paintings continue to be admired by art enthusiasts today.

In conclusion, Hendrick Goltzius was a highly skilled and influential artist and printmaker who made significant contributions to the art world during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His highly detailed and ornate works continue to be admired and celebrated today, and his legacy lives on as an important figure in the history of art.

Museum-quality posters made on thick matte paper. Add a wonderful accent to your room and office with these posters that are sure to brighten any environment.

• Paper thickness: 10.3 mil
• Paper weight: 189 g/m²
• Opacity: 94%
• ISO brightness: 104%
• Paper is sourced from Japan

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