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Claude Lorrain (1604/5-82)

Coast scene with the Rape of Europa Signed and dated 1667

Oil on canvas | 102.0 x 134.9 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405357

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In the foreground, Europa has climbed onto Zeus, disguised as a bull. He is about to carry her out to sea, to the island of Crete. Although the violent act itself is not depicted, the foreboding of Europa’s capture is enhanced by contrasts in Claude’s masterful landscape. He juxtaposes the safety of the green shore with the perilous dark and choppy sea, and the sharp focus of the foreground versus the misty, inscrutable horizon.

Acquired by George IV in 1829