The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • After François Boucher (1703 - 1770)
  • Danaë
  • France
  • c. 1760 - 1780
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas laid down on panel
  • Image size: 19.3 x 22 cm, oval
  • P766
  • Not on display
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The story of Danaë is told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (IV, 697-8). Her father, Acrisius, King of Argos, fearful of his prophesied death at the hands of a future grandson, imprisoned Danaë in a bronze tower to keep her suitors away. Jupiter, however, visited her in a shower of golden rain, and the outcome of their union was the hero Perseus, who did indeed kill his grandfather, albeit accidentally, with a discus. Here the princess is shown reclining on cushions in an interior pervaded by the golden light of Jupiter.

    The same figure can be found in a Boucher drawing (last recorded in the Rodrigues sale, Paris, 28 November 1928), and in a miniature by Charlier (M139) in the Wallace Collection, which suggests that all three works derive from a lost original by Boucher. The figure of Callisto in a painting of Diana and Callisto by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre in Madrid, Prado is also related, the painter might be of Pierre's generation.