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Pan and Daphnis

circa 1670
17th century
65.6 cm x 49.3 cm (25 13/16 in. x 19 7/16 in.)

Pieter Mulier the younger (Haarlem, The Netherlands, circa 1637 - 1701, Milan, Italy) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Europe, Dutch
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.1244

The beautiful young man holding a panpipe is Daphnis, a Sicilian herdsman and son of Mercury, the god of commerce. It was thought that Daphnis invented pastoral music and that his good looks enchanted many, including Pan, the god of shepherds, flocks, and the wild. Pan wandered the mountains and fields of Arcadia, playing his panpipe, often in lustful chases after nymphs and young men. Here, Pan teaches Daphnis how to play the panpipe as he makes an advance in the guise of instruction.

Likely modeled on one of the ancient Roman sculptures discovered in the Renaissance, this painting echoes the ideals of the pastoral lifestyle filled with music and love. Pieter Mulier adds a contemporary touch to the scene through the inclusion of a viol, a string instrument popular in his time.

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