Latona and the Frogs [David Teniers the Younger]

Clayton Schuster

Sr. Contributor

Francisco Serrador

Contributor

Proof that some frogs you're kissing are peasants. Also, part of an Up! worthy love story.

Jupiter got around, and it usually turned out pretty crappy for everyone involved that wasn't Jupiter. The same goes for Latona. Jupiter's taking her out on the side and then she ends up pregnant. Jupiter's wife Juno finds out and goes nuts. She promises to track Latona down and prison yard jump her for trifling. So, Latona flies around the earth without stopping. She lands to give birth to Jupiter's children Apollo and Diana, but Juno finds out where and Latona has to get going again with newborns in tow. Finally, she's reached the end of the earth: Turkey. She finds a marsh with clean water for a thirst quencher, but the local peasants aren't having it. They stomp up the mud with their dirty peasant feet and make it a disgusting slop. In retort, Latona turns them all into frogs. The end.

Get your tissues ready, cause here comes the feels. Millie and Henry Williams met on the side of the road one day. Her car had broken down and he gave her a lift. They fell in love and moved to Paris. Henry, understand, was the foremost authority on wood and wood sales in America. He got wood from Canada to South America, and was even the first American to sell USA hardwood in Europe. While living in Europe, the Williams' got art fever. They didn't consider themselves "collectors," just a couple crazy kids in love with nice things and each other. They had well over a hundred works, Latona and the Frogs included.

One of Millie's good friends was Mrs. Adolphe Spreckle, wife to the heir of the Spreckels Sugar fortune, convinced the timber magnate's wife to donate their artistic collection to the nascent Legion of Honor. Millie agreed, so long as she and Henry could enjoy it in their Paris home until they died. Millie died long before Henry, just before WWII. With whispers of that Hitler fella's plans for Europe floating about, Henry packed Millie's beloved art up and shipped it to San Francisco. Rather that than wait to see Hitler's next move. Henry spent half the year in San Francisco for the rest of his life so he could spend time with the art that he and Millie loved. #Tears.

First off some serious art criticism: Latona looks more like a Belgian chambermaid here than a Greek goddess with peasant-into-frog-turning superpowers. Likewise, the Lycean peasants, at least the ones who have not yet morphed into frogs, also look more Belgian than Lycean (Turkish), and finally, the landscape looks like suburban Antwerp in 1640, not Lycia (Turkey) thousands of years BC.

Now for the art praise: This painting glows, literally, as it is painted on a small copper plate. Also, how often do you get to see baby pictures of Artemis and Apollo? They were cute before they grew up to be the most tomboyish of goddesses and buffest of gods. We thank David Teniers the Younger. David Teniers the Elder would be proud.