In Greek legend Medea, wife of Jason, was a passionate and jealous woman who fled with Jason when he returned to Greece after capturing the Golden Fleece. When he later deserted her to marry another woman Medea stopped at nothing to gain her revenge, even murdering her two children, his new wife and her father-in-law.
Medea: or the Marriage of Jason and Creusa was a play written by one of Rembrandt's most important patrons, Jan Six. The image does not illustrate a scene from the play, but is an evocation of its theme. Medea is depicted lurking in the shadows with the instruments of her revenge while the wedding of Jason and Creusa, presided over by Juno, unfolds in a majestic architectural space above. In the fourth state (the published state) four lines of text are added below identifying Jason, not as a hero, but an adulterer, and Medea as a wronged wife 'unjustly cast aside.'