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ID number:  BIRBI-57.7
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Cock, Hieronymus (c. 1510-1570)
Title / Object name:  Mercury and Argus
Object type:  Print
Culture:  Flemish
Date made:  about 1558
Materials:  Etching
Measurements:  Paper 230 x 312 mm; mount 405 x 556 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Craddock & Barnard, November 1957, for £10

In this print the narrative of Mercury and Argus (from Ovid’s Metamorphoses) is dwarfed by the fantastic landscape. In keeping with Flemish tradition Cock depicts all elements of nature: woodland, mountain ranges, rivers, fields, and animals. This print features Mercury attempting to lull the giant Argus into a deep sleep before beheading him. Mercury has been sent to watch Jupiter by Juno, Jupiter’s wife, after she found him seducing Io. To escape, Jupiter has disguised himself as a cow, as shown in the foreground.

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