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Childhood of Jupiter

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1697-1705/10 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Elhafen, Ignaz, born 1658 (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case dr7

This relief made by Ignaz Elhafen in ca. 1697-1705/10 represents the childhood of Jupiter. The monochrome colouring of material meant that ivories such as this could ape in miniature the ancient marbles much valued by connoisseurs and collectors of the time. Jupiter was reared on a mountainside in order that his father, Cronos, would not swallow him up.

Elhafen (1658-1715) was trained in Innsbruck, and then travelled to Italy, probably between 1675 and 1678. Subsequently he worked in Vienna, and then in Düsseldorf, where he was based at the court of Johann II Wilhelm, the Elector Palatine from 1703/4 onwards. Elhafen worked in ivory above all, although he also produced small-scale sculptures in wood. He specialised in relief sculptures and many of these are based on prints.

Physical description

Pan is seated on the left, holding a tambourine aloft, behind him a female figure plays the cymbals, and a satyr near a large urn looks on at the central scene. A reclining female figure in the centre milks a goat (Amalthea), turning towards a small naked child (Jupiter), seated behind her, holding a bottle. Another satyr plays a pipe on the right, and three female figures recline in the background. Monogrammed 'I.E.'.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca. 1697-1705/10 (made)


Elhafen, Ignaz, born 1658 (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques



Width: 19.8 cm, Height: 10.1 cm

Object history note

Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A. in 1949. Formerly on loan from Dr Hildburgh.

Descriptive line

Relief, ivory, The Childhood of Jupiter, by Ignaz Elhafen, German, ca. 1697-1705/10

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Theuerkauff, Christian, ed. Elfenbein, Sammlung Reiner Winkler, Vol I, 1984, p. 39, no. 13
Theuerkauff, Christian. 'Der "Helffenbeinarbeiter" Ignaz Elhafen', in: Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, 21.1968, p. 92-157
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, cat. no. 7, p. 12



Subjects depicted

Tree; Goat; Female figure; Cymbals; Bottle; Child; Satyr; Flute (musical instrument); Tambourine


Sculpture; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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