Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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The Fall of Phaëthon (1688-98)

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a colour print by Johannes Teyler (1648-c.1709) from his Opus Typochromaticum, depicting The Fall of Phaethon collectie Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2

A colour print by Johannes Teyler (1648-c.1709) from his Opus Typochromaticum, depicting The Fall of Phaëthon (1688-98). (pictures courtesy (CohenandCohen.co.uk, REF No. 6375)

  

Phaëthon, the son of the Sun God Helios, had begged his father to prove his paternity to his friends, so Helios had sworn an oath on the River Styx to grant any wish that the youth wanted. Phaëthon chose to ride the famous sun chariot and despite his father’s warning that the steeds were too strong for him, the young man took the reins. His lack of control soon led to disasters when he flew too low and scorched the earth. (CohenandCohen.co.uk, REF No. 6375)

The part of the Teyler print here shows a group of River Gods in distress, who had petitioned Zeus to stop Pheëton’s uncontrolled Chariot ride because it had caused their rivers to dry up. When Zeus kills Phaëthon with a thunderbolt he falls into the River Eridanus where he is drowned. (CohenandCohen.co.uk, REF No. 6375