Dirk van Babyuren and his painting. What punish Prometheus for?That the viewer sees: the prostrate old man, near him - other old man who is active with a chain, on the right - the having fun good fellow in a hat with wings and an intricate stick in the left hand. If not the name - “A volcano chains Prometheus“, the sense of a picture would be absolutely unclear. to
After read the name, becomes clear that Prometheus lies that to the left of it - the Volcano (or Hephaestus). And who this merry fellow? It is Mercury (or Hermes). A hat and an intricate cane - its external signs.
And who are all of them? What are they among themselves connected by? Before telling about it, we will pay attention to the top left corner. There the viewer hardly distinguishes something like a chicken pad. The modern equipment gives the chance to facilitate perception: blessed Photoshop. It appears, there - not chicken, but an eagle.
An eagle - Zeus`s symbol, the Supreme governor Olimp. He watches the events, an execution of the punishment, determined by it for Prometheus. The performer is Hephaestus (he is Vulcan), his son. And right there the artist placed the second son Zeus, Hermes (he is Mercury), probably, as controller of performance of the order. Why he is amused by the events - unclear.
Actually if to trust the legends stated by various writers of antiquity presence of Mercury at this execution is confirmed by nobody.
For what Zeus punished Prometheus? By origin they were equal. But Prometheus was lower a rank (speaking the modern language). Nevertheless it was rather willful, did not reckon with Zeus. Besides, he sometimes afforded very indecent jokes. Its most serious crime (if it is possible to call it so) - Prometheus returned to people fire.
And Prometheus`s joke was that he literally inflated Zeus: “When gods began to argue with people, Prometheus with the purpose to deceive Zeus killed a bull and put meat and interiors in one party, having covered all this with a skin and having put from above a stomach (the worst part of ink); he put bones in other party and covered them with fat. Zeus specified to Prometheus that he divided hulk not equally, but that demanded that Zeus made a choice. Zeus chose that part in which there were bones. Angered, he deprived of people of fire“. (Apollodorus, the book 1)
Can be assumed that Prometheus did not expect such punishment for people from Zeus, counted itself as responsible for this trouble and decided to wash away guilt, having stolen fire and having transferred him to people. For as paid with freedom and years of cruel torments: to it chained to the rock the eagle flied every day and pecked to it a liver.
The name “Prometheus“ is translated as “thinking beforehand“, “perspicacious“. It is possible for this reason in the right bottom corner of a picture the artist represented compasses, the drawing and the book. In the same dark corner it is possible to read the autograph of the artist.
Some more blows the hammer (by the way, four hundred years ago the tool was practically same, as today) - work will be finished, the disobedient person will take the place on the rock.
The author of this picture Dirk (Theodor) van Babyuren (1595-1624) was born in the city of Veyk - beat - Dyurstede of the province Utrecht Respubliki of Seven Integrated Lower Lands. In the childhood moved to Utrecht. Studied painting at Paulues Jansson Morelse - the portraitist, the founder and the first chairman of the Utrecht guild Saint Luka (he was also one of founders of the Utrecht university).
In 1611 Dirk at the age of 16 years was admitted to guild (probably, he had special talents), he became the professional artist. From 1612 to 1620 was in Italy. In Rome the marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani - the banker of Vatican, the collector, the patron Caravaggio and Poussin was his patron. In 1620 returned to Utrecht where lived before the death in 1624.
The drawing, the book, compasses assume that gods were able to write, read, draw - possessed a huge stock of knowledge, apparently, absolutely not necessary to gods (they already can do everything!). Probably, the artist was familiar with Eskhil`s tragedy in which Prometheus is presented as the educator: it brought to people the diploma and mathematics, taught people to get and process metals and to many other that is called today a civilization.
A minute more - and an eagle who in the left top corner watches work of the divine executioner will begin to peck a liver of the hero who gave to mankind fire and all that is called today “the civilization benefits“. And what it after that “divine justice“?