The article investigates a little known painting by Frans Francken the Younger dating most likely from the 1620s. For many figures in the crowded panel the artist relied on prototypes provided by the cycles of illustrations to Ovid's Metamorphoses. However, the general theme of the painting as well as the central motif of Cupid's triumphal chariot do not originate in Ovid's writings but have their source in Petrarch's Trionfi. An examination of the traditional iconography of the Petrarchan "Triumph of Love" highlights Francken's originality. He replaced Petrarch's endless procession of desolate lovers by a plethora of narrative scenes of tragic love affairs as told by Ovid. Francken revitalized Petrarch's didactic allegorical lineup of exempla by calling on the narrative verve of Ovid and his illustrators.
Depictions of extra-biblical legends frequently appear in medieval Christian, Jewish and Islamic art. These depictions, although frequently rooted in ancient Jewish lore, are not based on lost ancient Jewish artistic traditions as some scholars have claimed. Rather, the legends were adapted and creatively transformed by Christians and Muslims to convey new theological concepts. This article explores three biblical legends in medieval art - Adam being worshiped by angels, Cain being shown by two ravens how to kill his brother Abel, and Pharaoh rescued by God at the Red Sea. These illustrations demonstrate that while the literary traditions have some relationship to each other, they bear little resemblance artistically and iconographically.