Herman Van Swanevelt

1604 – 1655

Pan and Syrinx


Oil on Canvas




38.3(h) x 48.4(w) cms


Ovid writes in the Metamorphosis about the satyr Pan who spied the beautiful nymph Syrinx and was immediately smitten by her beauty. He approached her, but when she saw his hairy goat legs she fled. Pan chased her to a river where Syrinx ran for shelter. Praying to the water nymphs to save her, Syrinx was transformed into cattail reeds. When Pan realised that he was now holding nothing but a handful of reeds he sighed, and a musical note erupted from the reeds. The sounds reminded him of Syrinx's voice and so he fashioned the reeds into a set of pipes.


Private Collection, UK


Anne Charlotte Steland, ‘Liber Amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder, Collegiale bijdragen over landschappen, marines en architectuur’, Herman van Swanevelt: Neu aufgetauchte Werke, The Hague 2013, p. 379, illus no. 3