The Judgment of Midas

Object Details


The Judgment of Midas


Hermann Weyer (German, 1596 - after 1621)






Pen and black ink, black, ochre, reddish and gray washes, with white gouache heightening


22.1 × 27 cm (8 11/16 × 10 5/8 in.)

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Granted anything he could wish for, King Midas desired that everything he touched be turned to gold. He soon realized his mistake, however, when even the food that he handled became inedible. Here the bearded god Dionysus, crowned with a wreath of vine leaves, allows the penitent Midas, who stands on the right, to wash away his powers in the River Pactolus. A satyr with his pipes crouches at the god's feet, while nymphs cluster around.

Hermann Weyer copied the composition of another artist's painting for this drawing, which Weyer made as an independent work. He used different types of strokes to build up the scene, from simple lines with sparse hatching on the figures to a complex layering of ink, wash, and heightening on the foliage at the back. Sweeps of wash give form and volume to the bodies of the nymphs.

Central European Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (March 2 to May 9, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 2 to May 9, 1993
The Power of Myth: European Mythological Drawings of the 15th through the 19th Century (October 12 to December 26, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 12 to December 26, 1993
German and Swiss Drawings from the Permanent Collection (June 6 to August 20, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 6 to August 20, 2000
Gods and Heroes: European Drawings of Classical Mythology (November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 19, 2013 to February 9, 2014
Reuniting the Masters: European Drawings from West Coast Collections (November 13, 2016 to February 5, 2017)
  • Crocker Art Museum (Sacramento), November 3, 2016 to February 5, 2017