Pan, the god of the fields and forests, had long been teased by the nymphs for his rustic dancing style. Yet he was unable to change his unique goat-like steps. During an afternoon nap, the nymphs played a trick – creeping up on Pan, they tied him up and cut off his beard. In this painting, the sun god Apollo looks on from the hillside. Dazzlingly handsome, he stands in sharp contrast with the earthly Pan.
Together with Rubens and Van Dyck, Jordaens was one of the leading Flemish painters of the seventeenth century. He mainly painted scenes from the Bible and ancient mythology.
Willem Six, Amsterdam, before 1733; Gerard Bicker van Swieten, The Hague, 1734-1741; Adriaan Leonard van Heteren, The Hague, until 1800; his heir, jonkheer Adriaan Leonard van Heteren Gevers, The Hague, 1800-1809; the entire collection bought by King Louis Napoleon for the Royal Museum, Amsterdam, 1809; on long-term loan from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. SK-A-601), since 1948
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