Abraham Bloemaert The Feast of the Gods at the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis
In Bloemaert’s painting of the wedding feast of Peleus and Thetis, the happy couple are nowhere to be seen.The real subject is the moment Eris, the goddess of strife, throws a golden apple inscribed with ‘for the fairest’ down to the table. The supreme ruler Jupiter dares not judge himself and instead asks Paris to hand the apple to either Juno, Minerva or Venus. Paris chooses Venus, with her splendid pale back. His judgement leads to a dramatic end to the feast, and ultimately sparks the Trojan War.
William V purchased this painting at an auction at the age of 23. It was one of the last pieces he acquired for his collection, but with it he was adding a painting that brought an enduring word of warning to rulers: look out for judgements like that of Paris, as they will only bring misery.
The Feast of the Gods at the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis
193.7 x 164.5 cm
Signed and dated
lower left: A. Bloemaert. fe. / 1638
Johan Balthasar Krauth et al. sale, The Hague, 7-8 October 1771, lot 23; Prince William V, The Hague, 1771-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822