Inventory number
Rubens, Peter Paul
The Judgement of Paris
Ca. 1638
199 cm x 381 cm
On display
Colección Real (Palacio del Buen Retiro, Madrid, 1701-1703 s.n.; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 235; Pinturas que posee la Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernnado, Madrid, 1796-1805, nº 67; Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, sala reservada, 1827, nº 67; Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, Madrid, Sala Reservada, 1834, nº 26)

The shepherd, Paris, was called on to resolve Minerva, Venus and Juno's argument as to which of them was the most beautiful goddess of all. Paris, son of Priam, was to give a golden apple with the inscription “to the most beautiful” to the one he considered most deserving.

The shepherd sits under a tree, thinking, while the Gods' messenger, Mercury, brings the golden fruit of discord. The goddesses attempt to sway his judgment with their offerings: Minerva, with armor and an owl, announces his success at war; Venus, accompanied by Cupid, offers him the most beautiful woman; and Juno, identified by her peacock, promises him grandeur. He finally chooses Venus, with whose help he kidnaps Helen, provoking the Trojan War and the wrath of the other goddesses, as is told in Homer's Iliad (Iliad, XXIV-XXV).

Rubens painted this work at the end of his life, modeling Venus after his second wife, Hélène Fourment. It is thought that the landscape was painted by Lucas van Uden.

The Cardinal Infante commissioned this work for Felipe IV and by 1653 it was hanging in the Buen Retiro Palace.

Ministerio de Cultura. Gobierno de España; abre en ventana nueva
España es cultura Spain is culture
Portal de la transparencia. Gobierno de España
Copyright © 2015 Museo Nacional del Prado.
Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23
Madrid 28014
Tel. +34 91 330 2800.
Todos los derechos reservados