The J. Paul Getty Museum

Glaucus and Scylla

Object Details


Glaucus and Scylla


Laurent de La Hyre (French, 1606 - 1656)




about 1640–1644


Oil on canvas

Object Number:



146.4 × 118.4 cm (57 5/8 × 46 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

The sea god Glaucus pulls aside his beard, revealing Cupid's arrow protruding from his chest. Looking up, he sees the maiden Scylla on a rocky cliff and pronounces his love for her.

Laurent de La Hyre represented a romantic scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Glaucus rises from the sea with an elegant, curling white beard, a muscular torso, and a scaly tail that unwinds among the reeds. Clad only in crumpled white and red drapery gathered around her waist, Scylla leans forward, gesturing with her hand. Behind her, Cupid looks ready to let loose another arrow. La Hyre used soft pinks in the sky and delicate hues of blue in the water, in contrast to the vivid green used for the reeds and foliage.

The painting was intended as a design for a tapestry series woven by the Gobelins factories and representing the loves of the gods.

- 1844

King Joseph Bonaparte of Spain, 1768 - 1844 (Paris, France; Naples, Italy; Madrid, Spain; Bordentown, New Jersey), by inheritance to his heirs, 1844.
Note: as "Palemon in the guise of a Triton expressing his love for a Nymph seated on a rock above"

1844 - 1845

Heirs of King Joseph Bonaparte of Spain, 1768 - 1844 [sold, Bonaparte sale, Birch, Bordentown, New Jersey, September 17, 1845, lot 126.]

by 1947 -

Goodyear's (Baltimore, Maryland)

- 1983

Didier Aaron, Inc. (New York), sold to a private collector, 1983.

1983 - 1984

Private Collection (New York, New York), sold through Didier Aaron, Inc. (New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.


Birch's, Bordentown, New Jersey. Catalogue of Valuable Paintings & Statuary, the Collection of the Late Joseph Bonaparte, Count de Survilliers. September 17-18, 1845, p. 11, lot 126.

Woodward, Evan Morrison. Bonaparte's Park and the Murats (Trenton: MacCrellish & Quigley, 1879), p. 61.

Benisovich, Michel. "Sales of French Collections of Paintings in the United States During the First Half of the Nineteenth Century." The Art Quarterly 19 (1956), p. 296.

Standen, Edith A. "Mythological Scenes: A Tapestry Series after Laurent de le Hire." The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Bulletin 4 (Spring 1973), p. 16.

Rosenberg, Pierre, ed. France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century French Paintings in American Collections, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982), p. xvii.

Rosenberg, Pierre, et al. "France in the Golden Age: A Postscript." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Journal 17 (1982), p. 41.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985), pp. 265-66, fig. 105.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), pp. 209, 210, no. 137, ill.

Standen, Edith Appleton. European Post-Medieval Tapestries and Related Hangings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2 vols. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985), vol. 1, pp. 281-82.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 32, ill.

Rosenberg, Pierre, and Jacques Thuillier, eds. Laurent de la Hyre, 1606-1656: L'homme et l'oeuvre, exh. cat. (Grenoble: Musée de Grenoble, 1989), pp. 240- 42, no. 198.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 69, ill.

Delmarcel, Guy, Phillipe Lüscher, Nocole de Reyès, and Denis Weidman. Collection Toms de fils et de couleurs: Tapisseries du XVIe an XVIIIe siècle, exh. cat. (Payerne: Abbattiale et Musée de Payerne, 1997), p. 70.

Un temps d'exubérance: les arts décoratifs sous Louis XIII et Anne d'Autriche, exh. cat. (Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2002), p. 172.