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The Rape of Europa (Primary Title) The Abduction of Europa (Alternate Title)
In this witty and ironic painting, Coypel illustrates a famous story from antiquity told by Ovid in his epic poem Metamorphoses. Jupiter, king of the Gods, fell in love with Europa, daughter of the king of Tyre, and disguised himself as a tame white bull to entice her onto his back so he could carry her off and seduce her. However, as irreverently painted by Coypel, the story lacks any of the redeeming moralizing that artists traditionally employed to gloss over such ultimately erotic tales. Instead, he humorously contrasts the maiden’s lack of sophistication with the ridiculous lengths to which Jupiter—the most powerful (as well as lustful and petty) of the gods–went to carry out his plan.
Signed and dated "N COYPEL pinxit 1722" above bottom edge, right of center
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
"The Orléeans Collection", New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA, October 25, 2018 - January 27, 2019
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC
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