Titian (1485 - 1576)
- The Rape of Europa
- possibly 18th century
- Oil on canvas
- Image size: 57.5 x 71.5 cm
Frame size: 85.5 x 99 x 10 cm
- Great Gallery
- The present picture is a reduced copy of an original by Titian (now in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston). The larger original was painted in 1562 as a pendant to Perseus and Andromeda (Wallace Collection, exhibited close by) for the series of six Poesie, mythological paintings based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, commissioned by King Philip II of Spain.
Ovid in the Metamorphoses tells of the rape of Europa, daughter of Agenor, King of Tyre, who was abducted by Jupiter in the form of a white bull.
When it appeared for sale in 1857, the 4th Marquess of Hertford’s agent,
Samuel Mawson, claimed that this painting ‘is much finer than the finished
picture.’ Lord Hertford acquiesced to its purchase, writing that ‘the Titian is only a study but I dare say very desirable.’