Cacus Stealing the Cattle of Hercules, 1652
etching with engraving on laid paper
23.4 x 32.2 cm; plate: 22.7 x 31.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18645)
Seven etchings were produced in Jordaens’ studio, including The Infant
Jupiter Fed by the Goat Amalthea and The Master Pulls the Cow out of the Ditch by its Tail – a proverb meaning, if you want it done, you must do it yourself. The texts claim Jordaens only as the “inventor” of the images – the division between designing and making was the
foundation of the workshop, yet it is rarely stated so clearly as on prints. Unlike Rubens, Jordaens did not work closely with independent printmakers. Etching did not require the same level of skill, and the plate could be produced without employing a third party. Somewhat cruder, these prints targeted a different audience.