The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The Abduction of Helen
  • Johann Georg Platzer (1704 - 1761)
  • The Abduction of Helen
  • Austria
  • c. 1740 - 1760
  • Painting
  • Oil on copper
  • Image size: 40.3 x 59.4 cm
    Frame size: 59 x 75 x 5 cm
  • Signature: 'J.g. / Plazer.' (sic)
  • P634
  • Reserve Gallery
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • P634 is a typical example of the small, detailed paintings on copper showing historical scenes for which Johann Georg Platzer is best known. Here, the subject is taken from Greek mythology and the picture illustrates the abduction of Helen by Paris, Prince of Troy, an episode which resulted in the Trojan War. Ancient Greek sources vary as to the nature of Helen’s abduction – it is sometimes described as a forced abduction but also as a calm and consensual event. Platzer follows the tradition of Western painting, and shows a violent scene of chaos and destruction. A similar composition, showing Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium is in the collection at Apsley House, London.

    The painting was acquired by Sir Richard Wallace in 1872.