Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem: The Fall of the Titans (1588-1590)

(Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark)

A painting from the Dutch artist Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem (1562-1638). This typical Mannerist painting shows the Titanomachia, a story form Greek mythology. In this story, the Olympians (the Greek gods Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Aphrodite etc who lived on Mount Olympus) fought against the Titans for domain over the Universe. The Titans were giant deities, children of Uranus (the Primordial God of the Sky) and Gaia (Primordial Deity of the Earth) who resided on Mount Othrys. Cronus, the leader of the Titans, overthrew his father Uranus and ruled the Universe. Cronus however became paranoid and was fearful of everything who would endanger his rule. Knowing that he had overthrew his father, Cronus became fearful of his own children. Every time his wife Rhea gave birth to a new child, Cronus would eat the bay whole. Rhea managed however to hide her youngest child Zeus and brought him to a cave in Crete where he was raised by Amalthea. When Zeus reached adulthood he became a servant of his father Cronus (who didn't know Zeus of 1 of his children) and with the help of a potion Zeus managed to make Cronus vomit up his swallowed children. After freeing his brothers and sisters, Zeus led the group in rebellion against his father and the other Titans. After of series of battles Zeus and his brothers and sisters were victorious. The titans were imprisoned in Tartarus. Zeus punished the titan Atlas by placing him at the Western edge of the Earth and holding up the Heavens on his shoulders. The titans are shown here on this painting falling into Tartarus. Painting from 1588-1590.