This painting, by the Swedish artist Georg Engelhard Schröder (c. 1684-1750), draws its inspiration from the Greek sea-goddess, Amphitrite. Two sides to water can be seen in this painting. The image of motherhood reflects how water supports life, while the stormy sky and shadowy depths around the family scene conversely warns of the dangers posed by unmerciful nature. As for the story of the goddess, Amphitrite, she was married to her fellow sea deity, Poseidon. Although she at first resisted the sea god’s proposal, she eventually agreed to the marriage, and as can be seen in the painting, the two deities had a family together. On this family, the scholar known as Pseudo-Apollodorus (c. 1st-2nd century) wrote, “Poseidon married Amphitrite, and had as children Triton and Rhode” (Library, 1.4). Such is the gist of Georg Engelhard Schröder’s painting.
Written by C. Keith Hansley
- Theogony and Works and Days by Hesiod, translated by M. L. West. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, 1999, 2008.