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The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis

peleus-thetis

The Wedding of Peleus and Thetis, 1612, oil on copper, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Image © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA / Michael Agee

When the sea nymph Thetis married Peleus, hero of Thessaly, all the gods were invited but one—Eris, goddess of discord. Annoyed at this slight, she appeared anyway, wreaking havoc by tossing into the crowd an apple inscribed “for the fairest.” Juno, Venus, and Minerva would scramble for the prize, setting in motion the events that led to the Trojan War. Wtewael filled his small (14 3/8 x 16 9/16 in.) copperplate with dozens of cavorting deities and putti who revel in the merriment of the occasion, oblivious to the looming clouds. The crowded, complex scene invites the viewer to look closely and discover a veritable who’s who of ancient mythology.

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