The Rape of Europa
Titian (Pieve di Cadore, about 1488 - 1576, Venice)
Titian’s Rape of Europa
, painted in Venice in the 1560s, is inspired by a story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Infatuated with Europa, Jupiter—king of the gods—transforms himself into a beautiful white bull and joins a herd grazing near the seashore. After convincing Europa to climb on his back, the mischievous god seizes the opportunity and springs into the sea, spiriting away the target of his affections while she clings to him in terror. Jupiter races across the ocean and Europa holds on by one horn. Gazing back over her shoulder toward the shoreline, she waves a red silk veil to attract attention.
This scarf captures some of the breathtaking material in Titian's masterpiece: the rich red of Europa's silk veil; the putti
--or male cherubs--who trail after Europa, bow and arrow in hand; and the vibrant colors of the tempestuous sky.