- Inventory number
- Rubens, Peter Paul (and Workshop)
- The Rape of Hippodamia
- 1636 - 1637
- 182,5 cm x 285,5 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Javier”, 1772, n. 994; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara de las señoras infantas-pieza encarnada a la derecha”, 1794, n. 994; Royal Palace, Madrid, “dormitorio de príncipes-pieza primera”, 1814-1818, n. 994)
During the wedding banquet of Pirithous, king of the Lapiths, Eurythus and other centaurs sought to kidnap the bride. The groom's friend, Theseus, leaped into the fray to save her, starting a bloody battle that ended in defeat for the centaurs.
Taken from Ovid (Metamorphoses, book XII), this story tells of a battle between man's animal and rational natures. Rubens chooses a frieze-like composition, ordering the figures in a way similar to the relief sculptures of Antiquity. This horizontal direction strengthens the sense of violence, but the rapid kidnapping of the young woman, and the furious reaction by those seeking to rescue her.
This work was commissioned by Felipe IV's brother, the Cardenal Infante Fernando, for the Torre de la Parada, the king's small palace near Madrid.