According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the forest god Pan dared to challenge Apollo to a musical contest. The judge was the mountain god Tmolus, who appears here as a ghostly figure in the background. At left, King Midas—who admired Pan’s reed pipe music—reacts with dismay as Apollo is pronounced the winner. Bisschop treats the divine figures with surprising naturalism, especially the youthful Apollo, who walks away with his stringed instrument tucked under his arm. Only his glowing halo—the mark of the sun god—reveals his identity.