Saturn (Rubens)

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Saturn (1636) by Rubens

Saturn or Saturn Devouring His Son is a 1636 painting by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, now in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid.[1]

It was commissioned for the Torre de la Parada by Philip IV of Spain and shows the influence of Michelangelo on Rubens, which he had picked up on his journey to Italy. The three stars at the top of the painting represent the planet Saturn as described by Galileo a few years before its painting. The central star is the planet itself, whilst the two others represent what he thought were two stars aligned with the planet. In reality, these were the rings around the planet, which his telescope was not powerful enough to distinguish.[2]

The painting represents the Greek myth of the titan Cronus devouring his children. In the original myth, Cronus swallowed his children whole, and later spit them out, also whole. The painting, however, shows Cronus taking a bite out of one of his children.


  1. ^ "Saturno devorando a sus hijos". Artehistoria. Archived from the original on 19 May 2007.
  2. ^ 'The Triple Star' in Saturn Devouring His Son (EL PAIS 23/10/2009)