"Mars and Venus or Parnassus" 1497, Andrea Mantegna (1431 Isola di Cartura - 1506, Mantova)

The Nine Muses are Dancing. Apollo plays with his Lyre, Hermes identified by the Caduceus and his wings with the Pegasus horse. The dance is observed by Ares amd Aphrodite (Mars and Venus). The husband of Aphrodite, Hephaistos seen in a cave. He is supposed to be angry about the love affair of his wife Aphrodite with Ares. Hephaistos constructed a device to trap Ares and Aphrodite when they were together in a bed in order to show to the other gods that their love was not only "Platonic".

The place is Mount Parnassus, the place of the Delphic Oracle, the center of the Greek World. Probably this work inspired Raphael who produced the Parnassus Fresco in the Vatican.

Raphael' Parnassus

Modern Versions of Apollo and the Muses:

John Singer Sargent, Apollo and the Muses , 1921, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Image

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