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Claude Gellée, called Le Lorrain (1604/5-82)

Coast scene with the Rape of Europa Signed and dated 1667

RCIN 405357

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The story of Europa, daughter of the King of Tyre, is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Jupiter fell in love with Europa and disguised himself as a beautiful white bull. Charmed by the bull’s good nature, Europa garlanded its horns with flowers but Jupiter, still in disguise, carried her off on his back and ravished her. Claude has created an Arcadian world bathed in a pale clear light but in both the painting, and the clock shown alongside, the exquisite beauty of the art work contrasts with the brutality of the story.