One day, however, he had a brainwave and changed his appearance to that of an old woman. In Garden Culture none could so excell, Or form the pliant Souls of Plants so well; Or to the Fruit more gen'rous Flavours lend, Or teach the Trees with nobler Loads to bend. A lovely story with a happy ending. Helen would not have had more suitors to trouble her, or Hippodamia, who caused the Lapithae problems, or Penelope, wife of that Ulysses, who was delayed too long at the war. [the story is too long to include here in full but to to read it all follow the link above to the translation and scroll down]. He was truly enamoured so repeatedly changed his appearance and tried again and again to win her attention and affection. Pomona by rejecting even Vertumnus’s constant advances represents virtue whilst Vertumnus by persevering despite constant rejection shows just how difficult virtue is to obtain…. But he does not desire now the fruit of your trees, or the sweet juice of your herbs: he desires nothing but you. She would not allow them to suffer from being parched, watering, in trickling streams, the twining tendrils of thirsty root. by Sir Samuel Garth. and who is the old lady in the picture below? Even now a thousand men want you, and the demi-gods and the gods, and the divinities that haunt the Alban hills, though you shun them and turn away from their wooing. Given a knife he was a dresser and pruner of vines: he would carry a ladder: you would think he’d be picking apples. O how often, disguised as an uncouth reaper, he would bring her a basket filled with ears of barley, and he was the perfect image of a reaper! These cookies are used to enhance your browsing experience, security and our website’s performance, allowing you to access the main features of the website. But her orchard’s lush vegetation, swelling fruit and sweet scented flowers are the perfect setting for the sometimes less-than-innocent escapades of the gods and demi-gods, and many of them, notably the satyrs pursued her. Wool, silk and gold. Why are they linked together? After he had praised it, and its companion vine, he said: ‘But if that tree stood there, unmated, without its vine, it would not be sought after for more than its leaves, and the vine also, which is joined to and rests on the elm, would lie on the ground, if it were not married to it, and leaning on it. She loved the fields and the branches loaded with ripe apples, not the woods and rivers. The love story between Vertumnus and Pomona is probably one of the most famous in the Gulbenkian Collection, originating from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The love story between Vertumnus and Pomona is probably one of the most famous in the Gulbenkian Collection, originating from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But you are not moved by this tree’s example, and you shun marriage, and do not care to be wed. And then he is young, is blessed with natural charm, can take on a fitting appearance, and whatever is ordered, though you ask all, he will do. However she was devoted to her orchard and spurned all their advances. The Foundation may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.To get more information or change your preferences, click the "Cookie Settings" button below. It was not only a story of the triumph of true love, but carries an often explicitly erotic sub-text too. Often he managed to enter the orchard but always with the same result. I know him very well indeed …, Vertumnus And Pomona by Hendrik van the Elder Balen, Vertumnus and Pomona, William Hamilton, 1789, Royal Academy of Arts. Vertumnus takes on a variety of disguises to try and woo Pomona as he does in the original myth, going from a farmhand, to a soldier, and a fisherman. These cookies may be our own and / or owned by third parties. He sat on the flattened grass, looking at the branches bending, weighed down with autumn fruit. Being mythological they  offered the opportunity to show scenes of voluptuousness, and nudity which were at home  in the private apartments of the elite for personal pleasure, but when seen by outsiders could equally be seen  and passed off as moralising allegories. That you may fear them more (since my long life has given me knowledge of many tales) I will tell you a story, famous through all of Cyprus, by which you might easily be swayed and softened.’, Vertumnus and Pomona in a Garden, with Juno’s Peacock, Dirck van den Bergen, Ham House, National Trust, Anaxarete Seeing the Dead Iphis, Antonio Tempesta, from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” 1606, And then the old lady tells Pomona the story of Iphis, a poor young man who falls in love for Anarexete, a noble maiden, but sadly one with a heart of stone, who mocks and scorns him. Endowed with unparalleled beauty, she captures the attention of various gods, who try to seduce her. The illustrations are beautiful. This example is the fifth of a set of nine; the other tapestries in the group, which portray other moments from the story, with Vertumnus disguised as different characters, are currently housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. ( Log Out /  And then – abracadabra! Some of these cookies may be used to test pages or the functionality of the website by measuring the reaction of users. The earliest known Dutch painting of this subject was made by Bloemaert around 1590. A Garden with Vertumnus and Pomona, Jan Brueghel the elder, Nunnington Hall, National Trust, Of course, Vertumnus/the old lady went on, I can see that you still are not convinced by the idea of marriage, and I can also see that most of the men, demigods and gods who want you are not worthy. ( Log Out /  ( Log Out /  Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. He entered the well-tended garden, and admiring the fruit, said: ‘You are so much more lovely’, and gave her a few congratulatory kisses, as no true old woman would have done. And of course in the process , when you’re not staring at priapic satyrs or bare-breasted maidens being kissed by old ladies then the  images that illustrate the story also reveal a lot about gardens and garden design! By disabling these cookies, it will no longer be possible to directly share our content in any social media. Therefore, they are always enabled. Vertumnus, god of gardens and orchards, responsible for the changing of the seasons, and Pomona, goddess of fruit trees, have been represented many times by various artists, including Peter Paul Rubens. A collection of stories: weekly, we share a story around the Founder's Collection.


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