- Reference number
- Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish)
- The Rape of Ganymede
- 181 cm x 87,3 cm
- Figura Humana
- On display
- Colección Real (Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara de la princesa, 1772, nº 1007; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, cuarto de la reina-antecámara, 1794, nº 1007: Palacio Real, Madrid, antecámara de la reina, 1814-1818, nº 1007).
Jupiter was so taken with Ganymede's beauty that he transformed into an eagle to carry her off to Mount Olympus, where she became his cup-bearer.
Rubens drew this story from the classical poet, Ovid's Metamorphosis (X, 155-161). He depicts the moment when the eagle catches the young shepherdess and lifts her into the air. The diagonal composition has a distinctly ascending sense and the lightening bolt visible among the clouds, which symbolizes the god, alludes to the force and fury with which the kidnapping takes place.
Here, the artist drew on classical sculpture. The figure of Ganymede is based on one of the children of the Helenistic group of Laocoonte, in the Vatican Museum. The figure of the eagle is based on some of Rubens' other compositions.
This work was made for the Torre de la Parada and its vertical format indicates that it was intended to be hung between two windows.