There are a number of versions of this subject by Etty, the earliest one dates from 1819. This work has been thought to be a study for a larger picture from 1824, exhibited at the Royal Academy with the following quotation from Elton's 'Hesiod', 'to deck her brows, the fair-tressed Seasons bring. A garland breathing all the sweets of Spring.' Pandora was the first mortal woman, created by Vulcan at the orders of Jupiter to punish man for the impious deeds of Prometheus. Vulcan, the god of smiths, fashioned Pandora out of clay from the earth and all the gods presented her with gifts. This included a box from Jupiter who instructed her to give it to her husband. Pandora was named so as 'Pan-dora' means 'all-gifted'. Mercury took Pandora to Prometheus, but he could see through this trick of the gods and sent her away. Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus was not so clever and married Pandora. When he opened the box, out came sorrows and evils which spread themselves throughout the world and which would never cease afflicting the human race. All that remained in the box was Hope, as all mankind can rely on during times of trouble and strife. Pandora is shown being crowned with a garland by the Seasons who drift above her. On the right sits Venus with Cupid and crouching on the left is Vulcan, her creator. Pandora stands with a statuesque quality, suitable as she was made out of clay.


  • Title: Pandora Crowned by the Seasons
  • Date: 1823 - 1824
  • Physical Dimensions: w2433 x h1725 mm
  • Artist: William Etty
  • Provenance: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Medium: Oil on canvas.

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