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Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75)

De mulieribus claris 1473

RCIN 1057852

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The most celebrated affair indulged in by Venus, goddess of Love, is with Mars, god of War. Her husband Vulcan, after a tip-off from Mercury, exposes them (right) to the derision of other gods. Her son Cupid, in some sources the offspring of this liaison, marches ahead of her (left).

Jupiter, captivated by the beauty of Europa, daughter of King Agenor of Phoenicia, turns into a handsome bull and lurks among her father’s herd to attract her. The god abducts her and carries her to Crete. Minos is among the children of this liaison.

Presented to George III by Jacob Bryant, 1782