April 10, 2010

An Original circa 1640 Rubens-School “Rape of Europa”

The Painting:

[Rubens School; Cornelius Schut] “Rape of Europa” . [s.l. s.d., circa Antwerp, 1640s] 167 x 132 cm. in Frame; approx . 148 x 112 cm. Out-of-Frame; Original canvas and wooden supports; worn as depicted and in need of restoration and cleaning; c. late 19th century gold-leaf frame

An exuberant Baroque painting of a highly desirable subject, following in the tradition of the treatment of the subject matter by Veronese and Titian. The painting derives most directly from, but does not precisely copy, the Rape of Europa, now attributed to Cornelius Schut in the Hermitage. It should be noted that the Hermitage painting measures 61 x 84 cm., while the painting for sale here is considerably larger. Generally, that should be the opposite if the painting was a mere copy.

“The mythographers tell that Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce or ravish her, the two being near-equivalent in Greek myth. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus[17] and three additional gifts: Talos, Laelaps and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus.” [Wikipedia]

The painting’s composition relates as well to two known masterpieces:

1)Veronese’s Rape of Europa in the National Gallery. See the link here.

2) Hendrik van Balen I (1575-1632) rape of Europa in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
See the link here.


posted in: Old Master Painting, Uncategorized