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  • image SG33

Jupiter riding his eagle, stained glass roundel, Netherlandish, c.1600

Clear glass with grey paint, yellow stains and red, blue and green enamels

Height: 256mm
Width: 250mm

Museum number: SG33

Curatorial note

One of a set of related related panels with SG32, Cybele, SG35, Pomona (Ceres) and SG36, Pluto, illustrating classical deities often used as representations of one of the four elements. All four are set in wreaths of dark green laurel leaves with fruit and a pair of masks. The enamels are particularly bright, of a depth of colour not often found in Netherlandish work and more usually associated with Swiss glass painters such as Christoph Murers. Popham suggested an attribution to Marten de Vos, c.1570, but the designs are not included in Hollstein's volumes of his work.

The monumental figure of Jupiter is naked save for a flowing loincloth and his crown. He carries a thunderbolt in his left hand and rides his eagle on a cloud towards us with his right leg outstretched. Far below is the sea with islands and a ship; the sun rises on the horizon. This representation, with the figure flying towards us, is unusual in glass painting because of the need for foreshortening in the perspective. The painter of this panel was clearly successful in achieving this and combined his skill in drawing with the use of unusually bright enamels.

Jupiter was the god of the sky and is sometimes used to personify air, one of the Four Elements, he also may personify light, as symbolised by his thunderbolt, though this is not strictly one of the Four Elements.


A. E. Popham’s comments are MS notes in pencil held at Sir John Soane’s Museum, c.1930
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, pp 170, 172

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk