The Fall of Phaeton

Georg Pencz1534/1534

Nuremberg Municipal Museums

Nuremberg Municipal Museums
Nuremberg, Germany

Distemper or tempera on canvas. The best known version of this mythological tale appears in the "Metamorphoses" by the Roman poet Ovid, which provided painter, draftsman and engraver Georg Pencz with the subject matter of his portrayal. Driving the sun chariot of his sun-god father Sol, Phaeton loses control and sets the earth on fire. To prevent still worse disasters, Jupiter strikes the youth down with a thunderbolt, and he falls dead. The design of this kind of ceiling painting was something entirely new in Pencz's era. Twenty paintings on stretched canvas, without the usual subdivision into compartments, form a large work that covers the entire ceiling, giving the impression of a full-scale fresco. It is one of the first illusionistic ceiling paintings north of the Alps, and is an innovation in all of Europe.

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  • Title: The Fall of Phaeton
  • Creator: Georg Pencz
  • Date: 1534/1534
  • Provenance: Museum Tucherschloss und Hirsvogelsaal
  • Type: Ceiling painting