Inventory number
P01679
Author
Rubens, Peter Paul
Title
The Rape of Ganymede
Chronology
1636 - 1637
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
181 cm x 87,3 cm
School
Flemish
Theme
Mythology
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara de la princesa”, 1772, n. 1007; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “cuarto de la reina-antecámara”, 1794, n. 1007; Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara de la reina”, 1814-1818, n. 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 Metamorphoses (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 Hellenistic 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.

 
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