Artist: DANIEL SEITER (Vienna 1647 – Turin 1705)
Title: Io transformed into a heifer with Juno and Argo
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 121 x 167 cm
This large unpublished canvas by Daniel Seiter has been identified by Guendalina Serafinelli (undertaking a study of this artwork and providing us with some previews), in the inventory of the collection of Emanuele of Portugal, drawn up in Rome in 1686. The document also provides detailed information on the cost of the painting and its frame, which was paid by the patron for thirty and eight scudi respectively. The canvas depicts the mythological story of Jupiter and Io, whereby the princess Io, transformed into a heifer by the god to save her from the jealousy of his wife Juno, is handed over by the latter to the faithful Argos to watch over her. Argus will then be killed by Mercury, instructed by Jupiter to free Io, and the young woman, after numerous vicissitudes, will finally arrive in Egypt, where according to legend she will resume human form and will be venerated with the name of Isis.