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Venice 2014

The Rape of Europa

<em>The Rape of Europa </em>

Fig 10. Titian, Rape of Europa, ca. 1559-1562, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Artstor)

The final work of the poesie was the Rape of Europa (Figure 10) and it depicts the narrative of Jupiter and Europa. In the story, Jupiter disguised himself as a bull on the right in order to seduce Europa. He tricked her into getting on his back and he took her out to sea.[1]  Europa is holding to the horn of Jupiter with one hand and a scarf with the other. She is looking back at the island the two came from, while her nymphs run to the edge of the land and call for her. There are two cupid like figures at the top of the composition following the couple. One of the cupids is holding a bow and the other is holding arrows. A third cupid is shown riding a fish and following Europa and Jupiter.    

[1] Ovid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Trans. by Arthur Golding, (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2000), 59-60.

Some of the works of the poesie show the political power of Philip II. The Rape of Europa expressed that Philip II was the god Jupiter. In the narrative, Jupiter is able to take all of Europa and Philip II is a king that owns a lot of the continent of Europe. Philip also identified with Jupiter because he was in control of a large part of the world. Philip became the first Monarch to rule over four continents because he had colonies in Asia, Africa and the New World. The Marquis of Pescara created the emblem “Cum Jove,” in order to show the relation between Jupiter controlling that land and sea and Philip controlling the land and sea. Philip ruled colonies over the sea with the power of Europe and so the image of Jupiter jumping from island to island and crossing the sea with Europa clinging to his back can show the similarity between Jupiter and Philip II.[1]

[1] Hilliard Goldfarb, “Titian: Colore and Ingegno in Service of Power” 17.

The Rape of Europa