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The Fall of Ixion

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  • katharina Hoins asked

    Is this connected to Bruegels Babel tower? How many versions of it are there?
    Kind regards and thank you!

  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered

    Dear Katharina,

    These are two very interesting questions! The painting Tower of Babel is not connected to this painting of Ixion. This is Ixion, a figure from Greek mythology. He is punished for seducing goddess Hera. Zeus puts Ixion in the darkest part of the underworld, where he must pay forever for his deeds on a burning wheel. In the biblical story about the Tower of Babel, God punishes people for building a tower towards heaven by letting everybody speak another language. This way, they cannot communicate with each other and fail to finish the tower. The two stories do have a corresponding moral, as they are both about pride. There also is an engraving by Goltzius depicting this exact scene and when this painting was discovered in 1979 it was a real surprise, as the image was already known because of the engraving.

    Kind regards,


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More information

A naked man tumbles screaming into a fiery abyss. He is Ixion, who attempted to seduce Hera, the wife of Zeus, the ruler of the gods. He was punished for his arrogance by being doomed to rotate for eternity on a burning wheel. Naked figures in overcomplicated
poses were a typical challenge for Mannerist painters.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The Fall of Ixion
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 152 cm
Height 192 cm
Artists Schilder: Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem
Accession number 3006 (OK)
Credits Aankoop / Purchase: 1980
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1980
Creation date in circa 1588
Age artist About 26 years old
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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All about the artist

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

Haarlem 1562 - Haarlem 1638

Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem was a pupil of Pieter Pietersz, the son of Pieter Aertsen, and is considered one of the most deliberately mannerist painters in...

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