Ceres Begging for Jupiter's Thunderbolt after the Kidnapping of Her Daughter Proserpine



Overall: 200 x 250 cm (78 3/4 x 98 7/16 in.) Framed: 229.2 x 286.4 x 9.5 cm (90 1/4 x 112 3/4 x 3 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View





Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, is depicted in this monumental painting imploring Jupiter and Juno to help retrieve her daughter, Proserpine, from the underworld. Callet shows the grieving and vengeful mother holding the torches that symbolize her search. This composition earned Callet entry into France’s Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1777 and received much praise at the Salon that year.


1777, exhibited by Callet at the Salon [see note 1]. 1930, private collection; May 26, 1930, anonymous ("M. L. S.") sale, Galerie Fievez, Brussels, lot 97 [see note 2]. Private collection, Antwerp. November 12, 2007, anonymous sale, Bernaerts, Antwerp, lot 276A [see note 3]. 2008, Didier Aaron et Cie., Paris; sold by Didier Aaron to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 25, 2008)

[1] This was Callet's "morceau d'agrément," the work of art that earned him acceptance in 1777 to the Académie Royale de Peintre et de Sculpture. [2] Attributed in the catalogue to Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and titled "Jupiter." [3] Attributed in the sale to Louis-Jean François Lagrenée.

Credit Line

Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund