Atalanta and Hippomenes

Attributable to Johann Wilhelm Baur1639 - 1641

Dionísio Pinheiro And Alice Cardoso Pinheiro Foundation

Dionísio Pinheiro And Alice Cardoso Pinheiro Foundation
Águeda, Portugal

The eight coppers in the collection are part of a wider set. In fact, they closely depict eight of the 150 engravings that Johann Wilhelm Baur (Strasbourg, 1607 – Vienna, 1642) made on several episodes of the Metamorphoses, between 1639 and 1641 in Vienna. As far as we know, they were for the first time printed in 1641, being part of an edition that accompanied the illustrations of the summaries of the pictorially treated myths, a volume dedicated to Jonas von Heysperg, counsellor of king Ferdinand III (apud R. Rapetti et alii 1998: 170). The engravings, nowadays conserved at the Sammlungen des regierenden Fürsten in Liechtenstein, have known several reprints, one of them in 1703 (Ovidii
Metamorphosis, oder Verwandelungs Bucher. Nuremberg). They collected inspiration
from the similar and equally numbered engravings of the Italian Antonio Tempesta
(1555-1630), which were published in Antwerp, in 1606 (Metamorphoseon sive
Transformationum Ovidianarum), although they might have been available years
before, at least since 1595. Baur’s engravings, through which he became known, are
characterized by the conciliation of both the mannerist and baroque styles, thus
revealing a strong dramaticism, as they included mythical figures in Italian
contemporaneous sceneries, both natural and urban ones. In this case, Atalanta was a young woman who was told by an oracle that she would become an animal if ever got married. Therefore, she dedicates her life to the priesthood of the goddess Diana, guardian of virginity, and sets her life in the woods. In order to avoid suitors, as she was extremely beautiful, she announced that she would only marry the man who could outrun her in a footrace, which was actually impossible. Hippomenes, fascinated by the girl’s beauty, after seeing a race that she won indisputably, decides to try his luck and asks for the favour of the goddess Venus. She then gives him three golden apples, which he throws to the floor during the competition, thus distracting the maiden and consequently making her lose the race. The painting depicts this moment, when Hippomenes throws the last apple and, by doing so, becomes the winner, as it is described (in direct speech, by the goddess Venus herself) in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (10.674-680).


  • Title: Atalanta and Hippomenes
  • Creator: Attributable to Johann Wilhelm Baur
  • Creator Lifespan: 1607 - 1642
  • Creator Nationality: German
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Vienna
  • Creator Birth Place: Strasbourg
  • Date: 1639 - 1641
  • Physical Dimensions: 750 x 125 mm
  • Provenance: Fundação Dionísio Pinheiro e Alice Cardoso Pinheiro
  • Type: Oil on copper
  • External Link: http://www.fundacaodionisiopinheiro.pt/pt/projectos/189-vasos-gregos-e-pintura-de-tema-classico
  • Original Title: Atalanta e Hipómedes
  • Engraver: Attributable to Johann Wilhelm Baur
  • Credit Line: Text: © Fundação Dionísio Pinheiro e Alice Cardoso Pinheiro and Centro de Estudos Clássicos da Universidade de Coimbra / Vieira Duque and Carlos Jesus Translation: © Fundação Dionísio Pinheiro e Alice Cardoso Pinheiro / Sílvia Dutra Santos Photo: © Fundação Dionísio Pinheiro e Alice Cardoso Pinheiro / João Carlos Graça

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