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The Myth of Io
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The Myth of Io

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The ancient Roman poet Ovid, in his "The Metamorphoses," told the story of the nymph Io who was seduced by Jupiter, the king of the gods. When his wife Juno became jealous, Jupiter transformed Io into a heifer to protect her. This panel relates the second half of the story. In the upper left, Jupiter emerges from clouds to order Mercury to rescue Io. In the lower left, Mercury guides his herd to the spot where Io is guarded by the hundred-eyed Argus. In the upper center, Mercury, disguised as a shepherd, lulls Argus to sleep and beheads him. Juno then takes Argus's eyes to ornament the tail feathers of her peacock and sends the Furies to pursue Io, who flees to the Nile River. At last, Jupiter prevails on his wife to cease tormenting the nymph, who, upon resuming her natural form, escapes to the forest and ultimately becomes the Egyptian goddess Isis. The panel was originally paired with another that depicted the first part of the story. The two were probably once installed in a house in Florence. For more information on this panel, please see Zeri catalogue number 64, pp. 100-101.
Date Description Narrative
9/22/1939Treatmentcoated; loss compensation
11/22/1939Treatmentloss compensation; stabilized; varnish removed or reduced
2/21/1940Treatmentrepaired; cleaned; loss compensation; coated
1/01/1953Examinationexamined for condition
7/07/1965Examinationexamined for condition
12/14/1981Treatmentcleaned; inpainted; loss compensation; surface cleaned; varnish removed or reduced
12/14/1981Treatmentcleaned; coated; loss compensation
6/10/1982Treatmentcleaned; filled; inpainted; surface cleaned; varnish removed or reduced
1/01/1997Treatmentrepaired; loss compensation; other
3/01/1997Treatmentinpainted; loss compensation; repaired; splits mended; stabilized
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
Provenance Braedalbane, Taymouth Castle, Scotland [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Mrs. Baillie-Hamilton, Langton, Berwickshire, Scotland, by 1903 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1911, by purchase [Bernard Berenson as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1911

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ca. 1490 (early Renaissance)
tempera and oil on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 25 9/16 x W: 67 1/2 x D: 1 1/4 in. (65 x 171.5 x 3.2 cm)

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