Venus and Vulcan by Bartholomeus Spranger

Venus and Vulcan by Bartholomeus Spranger

The painting “Venus and Volcano” was written by the Flemish painter Bartholomeus Spranger in Prague, finished the year before the death of the painter. The size of the picture is 140 x 95 cm, canvas, oil. The volcano, in mythology, the deity of fire and metallurgy, according to Varro, passed to the Romans from the Sabinians. The word Vulcanus does not have an indisputable etymology in Latin.

The cult of Volcano was originally associated with human sacrifices. This is indicated by the news of Varro, confirmed by other writers, that during the festivities of the volcanic people the people threw

alive fish and other animals into the fire, sacrificing them instead of human souls. The myth of the son of Vulcan, the fire-breathing man Kakuse, who lived on the Aventine mountain, in a cave surrounded by the remnants of human bodies devoured by him, also indicates the anthropophagic nature of the cult.

Ancient Roman writers mention the first wife of Vulcan, calling her only – Maya, others – Maesto. Other myths, identifying Vulcan with the Greek Hephaestus, combine it with the goddess of beauty Venus. The sons of Vulcan from mortal women were worshiped by the Roman king Servius Tullius and the founder of the city of Prenesta Tsekul.

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