Inventory number
P01658
Author
Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish)
Title
The Rape of Hippodame, or Lapiths and Centaurs
Chronology
1636-1638
Technique
Óleo
Support
Lienzo
Dimensions
182,5 cm x 285,5 cm
School
Flamenca
Theme
Mitología
On display
Yes
Provenance
Colección Real (Torre de la Parada, El Pardo-Madrid; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, cuarto del infante don Javier, 1772, nº 994; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara de las señoras infantas-pieza encarnada a la derecha, 1794, nº 994; Palacio Real, Madrid, dormitorio de príncipes-pieza primera, 1814-1818, nº 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 (Metamorphosis, book XII), this story tells of a battle between man's animal and rational natures. Rubens chooses a freize-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.

 
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