Mercury and Battus, Adam Elsheimer;  succession
Adam Elsheimer
Mercury and Battus
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Adam Elsheimer succession

Mercury and Battus, 1610 – 1620

12.6 x 16.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on copper
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1922 as bequest by Fanny Herxheimer, née Livingston
On display, 2nd upper level, Old Masters, room 10


About the Acquisition

Family Löwenstein left for America, to then return to Frankfurt in 1870 as the millionaires Livingstone. Their daughter Rose Livingston (1860–1914), who remained unmarried throughout her life, established the Rose Livingston Foundation in 1913 with a donation of several million, for an old people’s home for educated ladies of different classes. Like her sister Fanny, she bequeathed parts of her art collection to the Städel. Among them were several landscape paintings by one of her friends: the Frankfurt painter Wilhelm Steinhausen.

Work Data

Basic Information

Mercury and Battus
Production Place
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on copper
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Nicht bezeichnet

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1922 as bequest by Fanny Herxheimer, née Livingston

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif
Persons Shown
Associated Persons and Institutions
Illustrated Passage
  • Ovid: Metamorphosen, 2. Buch, Battus, 676-707


  • 92B5422 Mercury and Battus; Battus is bribed with a heifer as hush-money
  • 47I221 herding, herdsman, herdswoman, shepherd, shepherdess, cowherd, etc.

Research and Discussion


Object History
Fanny Herxheimer, geb. Livingston (1853-1922), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1922.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

The successive ownership records are separated from each other by a semicolon.

Gaps in the record of a provenance are indicated by the placeholder “…”. Unsupported information is listed in square brackets.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the museum at .

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