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Hendrik Goudt 1583-1648
The mocking of Ceres
Engraving, 1610, after Adam Elsheimer 1578-1610
Founder's bequest 1816
This dramatic night scene illustrates a tale from Ovid's Metamorphoses in which Ceres, goddess of fertility, is mocked by a small boy for drinking greedily. Infuriated, the goddess turns the impudent child into a lizard. This rather obscure subject had been chosen by artists before Elsheimer, but he was the first to set the scene during the hours of darkness.
Goudt was a masterful engraver, incising the plates in such a way that individual lines seem to create areas of continuous dark tone. His prints, most of which also feature distinctive calligraphic lettering, helped to spread Elsheimer's name throughout Europe. All this is quite an incredible achievement given that Elsheimer, who died at a young age, was not a prolific artist, and that Goudt only engraved seven plates in his lifetime. His tonal effects were influential for later printmakers, including Hercules Segers (c.1589-1638), Jan van de Velde II (1619-1662) and Rembrandt (1606-1669).