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

Mercury and Battus, ca. 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


About the Acquisition

The family was known as the Löwensteins when they emigrated to America, and as the Livingstons when they returned to Frankfurt as millionaires in 1870. Daughter Fanny was born in 1853 in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. After her return to Germany she married medical consultant Dr Salomon Herxheimer. When this specialist for skin and venereal diseases died in 1899, she founded the Sanitätsrat Dr. Salomon Herxheimersche Stiftung, which treated impoverished patients suffering from skin diseases free of charge. Fanny died in Frankfurt in 1922 and, like her sister, Rose Livingston, left part of her art collection to the Städel.

Work Data

Basic Information

Mercury and Battus
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
CC BY-SA 4.0 Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
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.

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