Gerard de la Vallee – Wooded landscape with Cefalus and Procris –
Cephalus (Ancient Greek: Κέφαλος, Kephalos) is a name, used both for the hero-figure in Greek mythology and carried as a theophoric name by historical persons. The word kephalos is Greek for “head”, perhaps used here because Cephalus was the founding “head” of a great family that includes Odysseus. It could be that Cephalus means the head of the Sun who kills (evaporates) Procris (dew) with his unerring ray or ‘javelin’. Cephalus was one of the lovers of the dawn goddess Eos.
Sumptuous sacrifices for Cephalus and for Procris are required in the inscribed sacred calendar of Thorikos in southern Attica, dating perhaps to the 430s BCE and published from the stone in 1983.
In Greek mythology, Procris (Ancient Greek: Πρόκρις, gen.: Πρόκριδος) was the daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens and his wife, Praxithea. She married Cephalus, the son of Deioneus. Procris had at least two sisters, Creusa and Orithyia. Sophocles wrote a tragedy called Procris which has been lost, as has a version contained in the Greek Cycle, but at least six different accounts of her story still exist.
Gerard de la Vallée (1596/1597 – after 1667) was a Flemish painter of landscapes and history paintings. His work was inspired by the great Flemish masters and mainly produced for the export market.