09 September 2008

Cadmus and the Dragon

Unlike his sister Europa, Cadmus does not seem to have been a great inspiration for later artists. The story of how Cadmus came to found the city of Thebes is at the beginning of Book III of the Metamorphoses ( Tony Kline's translation). In his account Ovid compares the dragon to the constellation Draco, shown to the left. (Torsten Bronger's picture from wikipedia licensed under GNU Free Documentation Licence.)

Cornelis van Haarlem's 1588 picture of the dragon eating two of Cadmus's followers is now in London's National Gallery. Hendrik Golzius (1588 - 1617) produced an etching of van Haarlem's work and also painted a picture of Cadmus slaying the dragon, now in Kolding's Koldinghus.
We conclude the story with a picture of Cadmus sowing the dragon's teeth by Maarten de Vos (1532 - 1603), now in London's Courtauld Institute.

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