The Judgement of Midas

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The Judgement of Midas
This drawing represents a scene from the Roman poet Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. The figure at the lower left represents Pan, while the one on the right is Apollo with his lyre. Apollo and Pan had a musical contest that was to be judged by the mountain god Tmolus, who picked Apollo as the winner. King Midas, who was also present at the contest, disagreed with Tmolus, believing Pan to be the better musician. Apollo punished him for this by turning his ears into those of an ass. Tognone has shown the moment when King Midas, standing above and behind Pan, intervenes with Tmolus’s decision. Tmolus defends his judgment by pointing to Apollo, his favoured musician. Apollo glares at Midas, who is unaware of his fate at Apollo’s hands.

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Ovid's Metamorphoses

A poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet, Ovid, which tells the story of the creation and history of the world according to Greek and Roman mythology.

Ovid's Metamorphoses


  • Acc. No. RSA 156
  • Medium Pen, ink and wash, heightened with white on blue paper
  • Size 20.40 x 20.60 cm: plus 2.30 and 0.30 cm additions
  • Credit David Laing Bequest to the Royal Scottish Academy on loan 1966