VERTUMNUS & POMONAIn this story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Pomona, the beautiful but minor goddess of flourishing fruit trees, gardens, and orchards always worked diligently in her closed garden. She had absolutely nothing to do with men, who were therefore strictly forbidden to access her domain.
However, Vertumnus, the highly transformable god of the seasons, vegetation and growth, had long been attracted to the young Pomona and tried to seduce her continuously, although fruitlessly, in various forms. Finally, in a desperate attempt, being cleverly and innocently disguised as an old woman, he tricked his/her way into Pomona’s garden and was even able to plant doubt in the girl’s mind with a parable about the tragic consequences of hardheartedness in the face of true love, if it happens to come by. “Take for example this fine young man Vertumnus”, the old lady skilfully acted. Finally, that cleverly spoken remark softened and even seduced Pomona’s young heart when she looked at the face of the quickly re-metamorphosed Vertumnus.
Although at the end of this story the cunning Vertumnus appeared to succeed, the question remains:is it possible for true love to be ignited with a lie?
Other painters on the same subject (click to view painting):
- Abraham Bloemaert
- Anthony van Dyck
- Cornelis de Vos
- Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
- Adriaen van de Velde
- Caesar Boëtius van Everdingen
- Jan Victors
- François Boucher