The Judgment of Midas

Hermann Weyer1616

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Granted anything he could wish for, King Midas desired that everything he touched be turned to gold. He soon realized his mistake, however, when even the food that he handled became inedible. Here the bearded god Dionysus, crowned with a wreath of vine leaves, allows the penitent Midas, who stands on the right, to wash away his powers in the River Pactolus. A satyr with his pipes crouches at the god's feet, while nymphs cluster around.

Hermann Weyer copied the composition of another artist's painting for this drawing, which Weyer made as an independent work. He used different types of strokes to build up the scene, from simple lines with sparse hatching on the figures to a complex layering of ink, wash, and heightening on the foliage at the back. Sweeps of wash give form and volume to the bodies of the nymphs.

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  • Title: The Judgment of Midas
  • Creator: Hermann Weyer
  • Date: 1616
  • Physical Dimensions: 22.1 x 27 cm (8 11/16 x 10 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and black ink, black, ochre, reddish and gray washes, with white gouache heightening
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: At bottom left corner, signed "H...V...Inventor / HEW fecit 1616" in black ink.
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 85.GG.293
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: German
  • Classification: Drawings