Cézanne, who once said, “It is grotesque to imagine that we grow like a fungus, when we have all the generations behind us. Why not take advantage of all this work, why neglect this impressive contribution?”, first discovered this painting through the engraving, and found in it a source of inspiration for some of his pictures of bathers, a copy of which is owned by the Petit Palais.
With its exuberant joy and delight in young flesh, it is a superb example of the artist's Rubensian phase, when, much to our pleasure today, he revelled in the art of painting.
This canvas, owned by a number of very important collectors in the course of the 19th century, is notably different in content from traditional evocations of this scene inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses. Jordaens has transformed his theme into an illustration of the fecundity of the earth, or an allegory of abundance.
There is another version of this painting at the Louvre Museum.
M. A. P.