The Rape of Europa
Europa was the daughter of Agenor, King of Tyre. Zeus fell in love with her and transformed himself into a docile bull in order to abduct her from the shore where she was playing. She climbed on his back and they swam away to Crete. She bore him three sons, Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon.
The myth, with its dark erotic undertones, was one of the most popular classical subjects for 17th-century paintings, although the inclusion of Cupid makes this example rather unusual. Europa is shown at the moment when her disquiet at being abducted begins to turn to love.
The painting was made for King Wladislaw of Poland, shortly before 1640, and its luminous tonality, studied elegance and strong pale colouring are typical of Reni's late style.
San Pietro e San Paolo Olio su tela Oratorio Santa Silvia Edificio Annunciazione Olio su tela Madonna col bambino dormiente Olio su tela Cappella di San Domenico - Apoteosi di San Domenico 1613 | Affresco Strage degli innocenti Olio su tela | 268 x 170 cm. Pala della peste - Madonna col Bambino in gloria e i santi Petronio, Francesco, Ignazio, Francesco Saverio, Procolo e Floriano Olio su tela | 382 x 242 cm. San Carlo Borromeo con angeli 1613 | Olio su tela Atalanta e Ippomene 1620 | Olio su tela Fuga in Egitto Olio su tela | 128 x 159 cm. Nesso rapisce Deianira 1617 | Olio su tela | 193 x 239 cm. Ritratto di Gentildonna 1615 | Olio su tela | 55 x 65 cm. Il Ratto d' Europa 1637 | Olio su tela | 129 x 177 cm. Arianna Olio su tela | 150 x 220 cm. Incontro di Gesù e Giovanni Battista Olio su tela
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