Theseus receives Minos’ ring from Amphitrite
Theseus volunteers to be devoured by the Minotaur
According to the traditional myth, the oracle told the Athenians that seven boys and seven maidens must be sent to Crete, every year for nine years, to appease King Minos. There, they would be devoured by the Minotaur. When Minos came to Athens in the third year, Theseus convinced his father King Aegeus to let him offer himself as a sacrifice. During the crossing, Theseus confronted Minos, who, as a son of Zeus, made the ship capsize with thunder and lightning.
A ring thrown into the sea
Theseus, meanwhile, declared himself son of Poseidon. Minos demanded that Theseus prove his claim, and threw his ring into the water to see if Theseus could find it. Theseus dived in, and dolphins led him to Amphitrite, who handed him the ring of the Cretan king.
A sensual scene
The central image of this scene is Amphitrite handing the ring to Theseus. It is a particularly sensual scene, remarkable for its accomplished warm tones. There are also sirens and dolphins in the sea, and, in the background, we see how Theseus, mounted on the back of a dolphin, reached Poseidon´s wife.
Series Story of Theseus
Fifth tapestry in the series
Model Anthonis Sallaert
Manufacture Jan Raes the Younger, Brussels, c. 1630
Fabric Silk and wool
Size 392 x 376 cm
Location Royal Palace of El Pardo
Origin Collection of Philip IV
On display Upper Gallery, Patio de las Austrias