Joachim Wtewael – The Banquet of the Gods

At the end of January 2019, Centraal Museum purchased a work by the Utrecht painter Joachim Wtewael at an auction of Sotheby’s New York: The Banquet of the Gods. The small-sized copper work (15.5 x 20.5 centimeters) and dating between 1601 and 1603 had long been on the museum’s wish list. As early as 1933, Centraal Museum established that it was the greatest wish to have this work by Wtewael in their collection. And now the time has finally come: with financial support from the Rembrandt Association, the Mondriaan Fund, the National Purchasing Fund of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and a number of private individuals, a long-cherished wish has become reality.

Love and Lust

The protagonists of The Gods Banquet are the love couple Venus and Mars. They are depicted arm in arm in the foreground with next to them the son of Venus: Cupid. A festive banquet takes place around them where about fifty gods let themselves go as partygoers. Singing, drinking and dancing take place in a magical forest.

Mars and Venus seem to be Wtewael’s favorite pair of gods. The painter also referred to the relationship between the goddess of love and the god of war in other works. Wtewael made at least four works of art between 1600 and 1611 in which he shows the adultery between the two gods. The theme of ‘love and lust’ is also frequently used in his other works. This theme is reflected in the painter’s use of color. The red colors in his work are usually not just chosen, they indicate the god Mars. Red is the color of danger, but also of love and lust.


Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638) is seen as the most important person in Dutch Mannerism. This is a style in which painters tried to match the work of famous Renaissance predecessors, such as Rafaël and Michelangelo. One of the characteristics in mannerist works is the exaggerated muscular bodies with crazy twists and unrealistic body proportions. These cannot be missed in the works of Wtewael!

Come and see!

The premiere is for Rembrandt Association: The Banquet of the Gods will first be shown at TEFAF Maastricht 2019 (16 to 24 March 2019). From April 2019 the work can be admired in Centraal Museum in Utrecht. Be enchanted by the detailed and colorful mythological scene and discover all the gods with all their mutual relationships.

These videos are made possible thanks to:

Mondriaan fonds, mondriaan fonds logo, mondriaanfonds, museumtv,logo vereniging rembrandt, vereniging rembrandt



Museum informatie

Centraal Museum
Agnietenstraat 1
3512 XA


Maandag Gesloten


Adults aged 18 and over€14.00
Ages 13-17, CJP, Cultuurkaart & students€6.00
Children aged 12 and under, Museumkaart,  Vrienden, Vereniging Rembrandt, ICOM & BankGiro Loterij VIP-kaart Gratis

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