©Salvador Dali - Mercury and Argus, after Diego Velázquez 1981

Mercury and Argus 1981
Mercury and Argus, after Diego Velázquez
1981 140x95cm oil/canvas
Private collection

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Mercury and Argus 1659, Diego Velázquez
Mercury and Argus 1659, Diego Velázquez
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Wearing his characteristic winged hat, and with a pan flute next to his left hand, Mercury stealthily approaches a shepherd he has lulled to sleep with the unlimited powers of his music. The latter is the one-hundred-eyed Argos, whom Juno appointed to watch over Io, the beautiful nymph she had turned into a cow in order to protect her from the amorous advances of he husband, Jupiter. Fully aware of her strategy, the latter sent Mercury to bypass Argos and steal her.
This episode from Ovid´s Metamorphoses was the subject of one four mythological scenes that Velázquez painted for the decoration of the Hall of Mirrors and Madrid´s Alcázar Palace.