Ceres Changing Stellio into a Lizard, after Jan van de Velde
21.1 cm x 16 cm (8 5/16 in. x 6 5/16 in.)
William Outgertsz. Akersloot
(active Haarlem, 1620 - 1634 (?), The Hague)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, after the abduction of Proserpina, her mother, Ceres, lit a torch with the fires of Etna and set out to find her. Reaching the house of an old woman, she slaked her thirst with such avidness that a boy, Stellio, mocked her. Furious, Ceres cast grain at him, transforming him into a lizard. The subject, a metaphor of the elements and processes of nature, was popular around the turn of the century in Holland. Here, Akersloot was interpreting a design by Jan van de Velde and drawing inspiration from a nocturnal engraving by Hendrik Goudt, but bringing his own charming observation and miniaturist’s touch. The print is very rare, and effective only in such a fine impression. Most of Akersloot’s plates are reproductive of portrait paintings. Steinberg acquired an equally rare and fine impression of his Amalia, Princess of Solms with Her Children.