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Vulcan was not only the god of fire, but also an able workman, and an ingenious mechanician. He invented and executed a magnificent shield for Hercules, and a complete suit of armour for Achilles, and for Æneas; and besides made the neck-lace of Hermione, the crown of Ariadne, and the brazen dog which Jupiter presented to Europa : he also constructed a mechanick throne, upon sitting down on which Juno was held fast, and unable to rise.

He was aided in his labours by the three Cyclops, Arges, Brontes and Steropes.

Jupiter, thinking that genius and beauty were made for each other, gave Venus in marriage to Vulcan. But it was hardly to be expected, that the goddess of beauty should be faithful to a spouse who was the image of deformity, and who was always busied with his work, and blackened whith the smoke of his forge ; accordingly, she preferred Mars. The intrigue was soon discovered by Apollo, the god of day, who, as Ovid relates, hastened « to inform the Goddess's husband, and to shew him the place where the lovers met in secret. Vulcan was overwhelmed with consternation at the news, and his hammer and his work dropped from his hands. » This scene is skilfully represented by Valasquez, an able Spanish painter, whose works are rarely met with out of his native country.

This picture, which was painted during the artist's residence at Rome, is remarked for the brilliant effect of light, and, in general, for fine colouring : it is in the Museum of Madrid, and was engraved, in 1792, by the elder Ingouf.

Width, 10 feet 7 inches ? height, 7 feet 5 inches ?

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