“Frans Snyders and Peter Paul Rubens, Ceres and Pan, c. 1615
As goddess of the Earth and agriculture, Ceres is depicted wearing a bundle of wheat spikes on her head. Beside her, Pan, the god of shepherds and herds, has a crown of oak leaves. Ceres symbolizes cultivated nature and Pan, wild nature. The horn of plenty and basket of fruit in their laps alludes to the fecundity and fertility of the Earth, which is strengthened by the fruit and vegetables strewn around them.
This is one of the many occasions when Rubens and Snyders worked together. The figures are by the former, who left the rendering of the fruit and vegetables to Snyders, a specialist in still life painting.
This work was made in the early teens of the seventeenth century, in the period of maximum collaboration between the two artists. It was brought to Spain by Rubens when he traveled there in 1628, as a present to Felipe IV.”