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European Art before 1900

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Mercury and Argus

Simone Cantarini (AKA Simone da Pesaro; il Pesarese), Italian, (April 1612–October 1648)

Creation date: 1642-1645
Creation place: Italy

Other Information

Type: Etching
Medium and Support: Etching on wove paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Accession Number: 1993.5
Dimensions: 10 3/4 x 12 5/16 in. (27.31 x 31.27 cm)


William Roscoe, ( - )

R.M. Light & Co., Inc., Santa Barbara, California ( - 1993)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (1993 - )

Label Copy

Simone Cantarini
Italian• 1612–1648
Mercury and Argus
Etching on wove paper • 1642–1645
The story of Mercury and Argus begins with Jupiter’s illicit
desire for the nymph Io, which sent Juno into a jealous
rage. Coming to Io cloaked in black clouds, Jupiter transformed
her into a beautiful white cow to save her from
Juno’s vengeance. Juno was not deceived and took the
cow captive, placing her under the watch of many-eyed
Argus. When Jupiter could no longer bear Io’s absence, he
sent his son Mercury to dispatch Argus. Disguised as a
shepherd, the messenger god lulled Argus to sleep with
song, and then killed him. Upon learning of his death, Juno
took Argus’s one hundred eyes and attached them to the
tail of her peacock.
Museum Purchase, 1993.5
Last Updated: 5/13/2015


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Reinterpreting the Classical Tradition: Mythological Prints from Mantegna Hood Museum of Art , 3/13/2008 - 5/25/2008

Divine Desire: Printmaking, Mythology, and the Birth of the Baroque , 3/28/2015 - 6/30/2015


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Julie Dunn, ed. Reinterpreting the Classical Tradition: University of San Diego. San Diego, California, 2008
Page Number: 18 no. 10

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