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Van de Peer, Robert
Caeneus, Caenis Transformed Caeneus, Caenis Transformed
1979 1979

The piece is a masterful abstract mezzotint with unusual folding and use of string sewn into the paper. The Agnes collection includes three smaller 16 cm square pieces, each with the title “Three small abrasions,” that feature the same mezzotint technique, black folded with threads, each subtitled with a different mythological allusion.

Caeneus’ legend is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Nestor tells the story of Caeneus to Achilles, describing his transformation from female to male. In Ovid’s retelling, placed in the mouth of the aged Homeric hero Nestor, Caenis, the daughter of Elatus (a Lapith chieftain) and Hippea, was raped by Neptune, who then fulfilled his request to be changed into a man so that he could never be raped again; he also made Caenis invulnerable to weaponry. Caenis then changed his name to Caeneus and became a warrior, traveling all over Thessaly, and later taking part in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.

Virgil also says that Aeneas sees him, having been returned to her original female form by the Fates, in the Fields of Mourning as he visits the underworld in Book Six of the Aeneid. He was also mentioned in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women.

 
Van de Peer, Robert
Faversham, England 1945 Faversham, England 1945
Caeneus, Caenis Transformed Caeneus, Caenis Transformed
1979 1979
Mezzotint on paper Mezzotint on paper
44.8 x 44.0 cm
Anonymous Gift, 2015 Anonymous Gift, 2015
58-014.01

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