Correggio’s painting of Jupiter and Antiope is a masterpiece that features the seduction of Antiope by the Greek god Zeus. Later imported into Roman mythology, it’s told of the god Jupiter. This painting is a representation without precedent in either ancient art or literature. It portrays Jupiter lying on his back with Antiope slipping off his lap, naked and vulnerable next to him.
Many western painters have treated this theme, including Titian, Van Dyck, Watteau, and David. Among them, Antoine Watteau’s artwork known as Satyr and the Sleeping Nymph is also closely related to this story. Painted between 1714-1719 and though often overshadowed by Correggio’s work, showcases a more playful scene.
When analyzing Correggio’s painting of Jupiter and Antiope, one striking feature is how he uses light to draw attention to specific parts of the composition while simultaneously isolating others in shadow. The luminosity emanating from Jupiter highlights both himself while casting a halo-like glow around him while obscuring attributes like his legs from view.