The composition takes the form of a mythological scene, with a clearly allegorical character. The three divinities can be identified by their attributes: to the right, we have Ceres (goddess of crops, of agriculture and of the regenerative powers of nature) wearing a wreath of wheat-ears, leaning against a large horn of plenty; Bacchus (god of wine, who could inspire music and poetry), wearing vine-wreathes and lifting a goblet of wine; Venus (goddess of beauty and erotic love) represented with her two customary doves and flanked by her son, Cupid. Ceres and Bacchus are gesturing towards Venus, in a metaphorical expression of the fact that physical love is alive, together with the joys of plentiful food and drink; the painting is a prime example of the epicurean praise and joy for life of a voluptuary. Compositionally, Ceres, Bacchus and Venus is an impressive example of complex artistic design. The outline and the posture of the characters’ bodies, as well as the fragments of colonnaded architecture, all betray the artist’s preference for the harmonies of the Italian classical spirit. On the other hand, the horn of plenty and its proximity constitute, in fact, a still life with fruits and vegetables painted in the style of the most pure Flemish Mannerism. ©Dana Roxana Hrib, European Art Gallery Guidebook, Second edition, Sibiu 2011.


  • Title: Ceres, Bacchus and Venus
  • Creator: Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen
  • Date: c. 1605 - c 1615
  • Physical Dimensions: w235 x h183.8 cm (Without frame)
  • Photo copyright: ©Christof Weber
  • Collecting: Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu, Romania
  • Artist Biography: Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen was a Flemish painter who belonged to the Baroque period. He was born in Antwerp and studied with Jan Snellinck, a representative of the Roman school of painting. Although he spent most of his life in his native city, he did visit Rome in the year 1598. He was admitted to the painter’s guild around the year 1601 and at that time he was a Mannerist. From the year 1609 on, he turns to a more solid and sober style of representation, much closer to the classical outlook and proof of his close familiarity with the work of Caravaggio. He painted works on mythological, religious and allegorical themes, in a style that was characterized by energy and density, with sculptural forms emerging from the contrast between light and shadow. ©Dana Roxana Hrib, European Art Gallery Guidebook, Second edition, Sibiu 2011.
  • Provenance: Brukenthal National Museum
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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