Jacopo de’ Barbari was the first Italian Renaissance artist of note to travel to Northern Europe. An acquaintance of Albrecht Dürer, he worked as a court painter in Wittenberg, Nürnberg, Frankfurt an der Oder, and the Dutch court. His prints were signed with a caduceus, alluding to the god Mercury’s dominion over printing as a form of written communication. In addition to his paintings, he is known to have produced twenty-nine engravings and three large woodcuts.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art explains that “In this print Apollo is shown in his role as a solar deity, standing on top of a celestial sphere firing arrows that signify the rays of the sun. The image shows the moment when night, symbolized by Apollo’s sister Diana, goddess of the moon, gives way to day. Devoted to the hunt, the chaste Diana (the Greek Artemis) is accompanied by a deer.”