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ID number:  BIRBI-69.5
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Moeyart, Claes Cornelisz (1592/3-1655)
Title / Object name:  Landscape with Mercury and Battus
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Amsterdam
Culture:  Dutch
Date made:  probably before 1624
Materials:  Etching
Measurements:  Plate: 96 x 195 mm; mount: 405 x 556 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Christopher Mendez, June 1969, for £30
BIRBI-69.5.jpg

This work provides an opportunity for Moeyaert to display his skills in landscape draughtsmanship - the mythological narrative is not immediately clear. Unlike the chaos of the Bolswert print, shown nearby, this represents bucolic countryside, but it similarly tells the tale of an unforgiving god. Having stolen Apollo’s sheep, Mercury bribed the witness, Battus, to remain silent. Mercury is shown here disguised as Apollo, in a winged hat, tempting Battus to reveal the thief. Mercury will transform Battus into a pumice stone when he accepts the bribe, alluded to by the old man’s gesture towards a heap of stones.

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