Mercury Killing Argus
23 cm x 25.2 cm (9 1/16 in. x 9 15/16 in.)
(Antwerp, 1593 - 1678, Antwerp)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Through most of his career, Jordaens's involvement with printmaking was limited to reproductive engraving in the style of the Rubens school. In the 1650s, however, he himself etched some plates in an open, Italian manner. The Blanton had previously acquired a unique, working counterproof of this print –– an impression taken from another while its ink is still damp, so that the composition returns to its direction on the plate, thus helping the artist to imagine and make further changes. Now, this splendid impression makes clear all the corrections and additions that Jordaens drew on that counterproof. Mercury’s dispatch of the thousand-eyed Argus, who had been sent by Juno to protect Europa from the amorous advances of Jupiter, was the subject of several paintings by Jordaens.