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About the Artwork

In Greek mythology the Titan Prometheus stole fire from the gods on Mount Olympus to give to humanity. Furious, Zeus, king of the Olympians, ordered Prometheus forever chained to a rock, where each day an eagle would devour the Titan’s perpetually regenerating liver. This painting, which Rubens considered one of his most important works, represents the virtuoso artist at his absolute height. Working in collaboration, a common practice for master artists in Antwerp in the first two decades of the seventeenth century, Rubens and the famed animal and still-life painter Frans Snyders, who contributed the eagle, rendered the brutal tale of Prometheus with corresponding violence. The enormous bird’s beak rips open the Titan’s torso, exposing blood-soaked entrails. To gain purchase on the captive’s flesh, one of the eagle’s talons gouges Prometheus’s right eye. His left eye is locked on the predator, signaling he is fully aware of his torture, while his writhing legs, clenched fist, and tousled hair convey the Titan’s abject agony. Rubens, who intensively had studied the art he saw on his travels to Italy, Spain, and England, derived the hulking figure of Prometheus, with its broad frame and dense musculature, from prototypes by Michelangelo. The picture’s asymmetrical composition, in which Prometheus tumbles downward with his left arm almost reaching beyond the canvas, was inspired by a painting by Titian of the giant Tityus (1548–49; Museo del Prado, Madrid). Here Rubens masterfully synthesized and melded these sources with his own Baroque sensibilities. Christopher Atkins, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2014, pp. 126–127

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Quality


This Art on Demand Store is your exclusive source for reproductions authorized and available for purchase directly from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. All items that are offered are produced using gallery quality materials and the color is managed in a manner that produces a reproduction as true to the original as technology will allow.

Selection


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.

Customization


You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Art on Demand Store. Simply enter your member id during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.