The Judgement of Midas


The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery, London

Apollo and Pan had a musical contest. Midas chose Pan as the victor, and Apollo punished Midas by giving him ass's ears. Midas stands between Apollo who is seated with his lyre on the right, and Pan with his pipes to the left.The subject derives from Ovid, 'Metamorphoses' (11).

The fresco (transferred to canvas) comes from a series painted in the Stanza di Apollo in the garden pavilion of the Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati.

The artist painted all six figures, but the landscape may have been made by an assistant. Seven chalk preparatory drawings for the figures by Domenichino survive (Windsor, Royal Collection).

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  • Title: The Judgement of Midas
  • Creator: Domenichino and assistants
  • Date Created: 1616-18
  • Physical Dimensions: 267 x 224 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Fresco, transferred to canvas and mounted on board
  • School: Italian (Bolognese)
  • More Info: Explore the National Gallery’s paintings online
  • Inventory number: NG6285
  • Artist Biography: Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino, was one of the main followers of Annibale Carracci. He had probably arrived in Rome by 1602, when Annibale was working in the Palazzo Farnese. Domenichino was important as a painter of classical landscape, following Annibale. The Gallery contains a series of frescoes on mythological themes that he painted for the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati. Domenichino was born in Bologna, and trained there under Ludovico Carracci. In Rome he was also influenced by the works of Raphael, as can be seen in his celebrated frescoes on the life of Saint Cecilia in S. Luigi dei Francesi, probably completed by 1614. He returned to Bologna in 1617, but was active again in Rome in the 1620s, before moving to Naples. Here he frescoed the Cappella del Tesoro of the cathedral in a more markedly Baroque style than his earlier work. He died in Naples in 1641. Both Poussin and Claude were influenced by his work, notably his landscapes.
  • Acquisition Credit: Bought, 1958