Apollo and Coronis

Adam Elsheimer, 1606 - 1608 about

WAG 10329

About this object

Elsheimer was German, but his most important works were painted in Italy where he spent the last 12 years of his life. These small pictures, with their jewel-like colours and poetic lighting, were admired by many artists, such as Elsheimer's friend, Rubens, and his influence was widespread.

With a shot from his bow the Greek god Apollo killed his unfaithful lover Coronis, who was pregnant with his child. Elsheimer shows the ensuing moment when the remorseful Apollo picked healing herbs in a vain attempt to revive his victim. The sensually-posed body of Coronis seems still to have a glow of life about it, but already in the background her funeral pyre is being prepared, and the leafless branches above evoke her death.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    Adam Elsheimer (German, born:baptised 18 March 1578, died:buried 11 December 1610)
  • Date
    1606 - 1608 about
  • Materials
    Oil; Copper
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 17.9 cm x 23 cm
  • Physical description
    On the left a mostly nude woman (Coronis) reclines on red and white linen with both arms raised above her head. There is a bloodied arrow lying on the ground at her feet. Beside her, a man (Apollo) is seated on a rock and leans down towards the ground where he is preparing herbs. In the background on the right, a group of figures are gathered around a lit bonfire. The scene takes place in dense woodland and a small section of sky with partial white cloud can be seen in the centre.
  • Related people
    Adam Elsheimer (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    WAG Inventory Number: 10329
  • Credit line
    Presented to the Walker Art Gallery by H M Government from the estate of the 4th Baron Methuen in 1982
  • Location
    Walker Art Gallery, Room 04
  • Collection
    From the Walker Art Gallery collections

Inscriptions

Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: Adam Elsheimer 42
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back; Frame
  • Inscription text: 146
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front & Side; Frame
  • Inscription text: ?63
    Inscription method:
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back; Frame
  • Inscription text: No. 42
    Inscription method: Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back; Frame
  • Inscription text: Wildenstein and Co. 147, New Bond Street, London, Artists in 17th Century Rome, 1955, lent by Lord Methuen
    Inscription method: Label
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    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: Royal Academy, London, 17th Century European Art, 1938, lent by Lord Methuen
    Inscription method: Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: 146 (with desciption and references) M. 4 May 1972
    Inscription method: Typed Label
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location:
  • Inscription text: x
    Inscription method: Indented with traces of black backing
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Back
Object view = Fine Art
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