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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Jupiter and Antiope: larger plate; the god Jupiter as a satyr leaning over the sleeping nude Antiope and lifting the blanket from her; second state with the blanket the satyr is holding shaded over with cross-hatching, particularly visible under his stomach and in the part left of his hand, with long drypoint lines added under Antiope's right foot and under her right elbow, shading added to the drapery above the satyr's head, before posthumous addition of inscription. 1659 Etching, burin and drypoint, with light plate tone, rough plate edges


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1659
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 140 millimetres
    • Width: 206 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with Rembrandt's signature and date, at centre left: "Rembrandt f. 1659".
  • Curator's comments

    This is first state, for another impression see also 1910,0212.368; for a maculature see 1848,0911.103.

    Selected literature: Graffon 1950, pp. 143-5; Boston-New York 1969, no. 27; Haverkamp-Begemann 1980, pp. 168-70; Berlin-Amsterdam-London 1991-2, no. 40; Cambridge 1996-7, nos 30-31; Melbourne-Canberra 1997-8, no. 122; White 1999, pp. 207-9.

    Hinterding et al. 2000:
    In this etching, in which a satyr approaches a sleeping nude, Rembrandt revisits a subject that he had tackled in 1631. Together the two works are a telling illustration of what almost thirty years of artistic endeavour had brought him. The early version shows a sleeping woman, stretched out on a bed, set down in fine outlines but otherwise barely modelled. In consequence she seems to be lying in broad daylight. The background has been darkened with a tangle of lines, and it is only upon a second look that we discern a man with a beard standing there. Rembrandt sets about his task very differently in the later work. Here is a mature artist who does not hesitate to set down the subject on the plate rapidly and with a minimum of etched lines, and then follows this up by increasing the homogeneity of the composition with deft accents in drypoint and burin. Both figures are clearly modelled and harmonize into a direct and convincing unit.
    The origin of Rembrandt's composition was almost certainly Annibale Carracci's 'Jupiter and Antiope' of 1592. The figures in this etching are similarly posed to those in Rembrandt's work. However, there are also differences which suggest that, while Rembrandt was undoubtedly echoing the Italian's work, he was nonetheless searching for a personal interpretation of the subject. In Carracci's Renaissance iconography, the Cupid holding a bow was an inescapable element; Rembrandt, the greater realist, needed no little love gods to make the lust that was the focus here abundantly clear. Rembrandt also omitted the landscape, thereby adding to the immediacy of the image, and the areas that are hatched only sparsely, if at all, strengthen its monumental character. The position of the sleeping woman is also different, with one arm above her head and the other beside it. This is a somewhat stereotypical pose that was also used by other artists, [For the drawing by Goltzius, see Peter Schatborn in Amsterdam-Washington 1981-2, no. 54] and its popularity may have been fostered by the classical example for this pose, the marble 'Sleeping Ariadne' in the Vatican. While Rembrandt may have seen a reproduction of this sculpture, it seems more probably that, like Hendrick Goltzius before him, he employed a model to pose for him. We do not know of a preliminary drawing that is indubitably connected with the print, but some related studies of the nude have survived. Rembrandt's rendition of sleep in this etching is so convincing - the mouth open, the left arm completely relaxed - that one might almost suppose that he drew from a model who really was fast asleep.
    Whether contemporaries recognized the compositional affinity with Annibale Carracci's print is open to debate, although there were certainly connoisseurs on whom such a reworking of an admired prototype would not have been lost. The fact that in 1731 the Delft collector Valerius Röver described Rembrandt's etching as "Nymph [and] Satyr, etched in the Italian manner" [Van Gelder and Van Gelder-Schrijver 1938, p. 12. When Samuel van Huls's collection was auctioned in 1735, the etching was described in the catalogue, independently of Rover, in virtually the same words. See Samuel van Huls sale catalogue, The Hague 26 September 1735, no. 1005] is revealing. It is possible that Rembrandt's source was the reason tor this description, although it could equally have been prompted by Rembrandt's open style of hatching, which was also used by Annibale and his followers of the Bolognese school. The technique of leaving light areas unworked, like those on the shoulder of the ogling satyr and on the woman's body, can also be found in Annibale's work.
    The print has acquired several different titles over the centuries. Before Röver suggested the neutral 'nymph and satyr', Clement de Jonghe's inventory of 1679 referred to it as a 'Venus and Satyr'. It is debatable whether the precise mythological subject really mattered much in such a scene. Since the Renaissance, the depiction of silent enjoyment, the suggestion of lechery and the visualization of how it was incited had been a challenge for many an ambitious artist [See Antwerp-Amsterdam 1999-2000, no. 46]. The literary theme often served as the legitimization of such images. But it was not really Rembrandt's style to add a line of text with an allusion to or explanation of the subject. This omission was made good later, when a text was added in the upper right corner of the plate. Its anonymous author thought he knew who Rembrandt's satyr was, and saw the dangers of his lust: "Jupiter, when he opens the female lock, Becomes a devil or beast or winged creature or fool." ["Jupyn, als hij ontsluit het Vrouwelijk slot, Word Droes of beest of vleugeldier of zot". Below this text, which was added in the second state, there is also a French version: "Jupin, ouvrant serrure feminine, Fait Satirique ou autre enorme mine". There are impressions of this state in Amsterdam and Vienna].


  • Bibliography

    • White & Boon 1969 203.I bibliographic details
    • Hind 1923 302.I bibliographic details
    • New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 311.II (Rembrandt) bibliographic details
    • Hinterding et al. 2000 90.I bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (D+F XVIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    1992 Mar-May, London, National Gallery, 'Rembrandt'
    2000/1 Jul-Jan, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt the Printmaker

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Jupiter and Antiope: the larger plate; the god, as satyr, about to ravish sleeping nude woman.  1659 Etching, burin and drypoint, with light surface tone

Jupiter and Antiope: the larger plate; the god, as satyr, about to ravish sleeping nude woman. 1659 Etching, burin and drypoint, with light surface tone

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