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The Four Elements

Photo credit: National Trust Images

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Each element is represented here by a pagan deity, bearing appropriate attributes, whilst the biblical story of Creation takes place in the background. Water is represented by a nymph with fish, Earth carries a cornucopia, Air is in the sky with birds and flying cupids, and Fire is alluded to by the smoking mountain. According to Aristotelian science, the four elements were the basic components of the material world, each of which corresponded to one of the humours of the human body and temperament.

National Trust, Stourhead

Warminster

  • Date

    c.1621–1632

  • Medium

    oil on copper

  • Measurements

    71 x 89 cm

  • Accession number

    732304

  • Acquisition method

    gift from Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare along with the estate, house and its contents, 1946

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National Trust, Stourhead

Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QD England

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