The Rape of Europa (1772) by Francisco Goya

The Rape of Europa - Francisco Goya - 1772

Artwork Information

TitleThe Rape of Europa
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions47 x 68 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Rape of Europa

The artwork “The Rape of Europa” is a creation by Francisco Goya that dates back to 1772, embodying the Romanticism art movement. It is an oil-based painting on canvas with dimensions of 47 by 68 centimeters. Classified as a mythological painting, the piece depicts the abduction of Europa by Zeus, who is transformed into a bull. This work is held in a private collection, thus not on public display.

In the artwork, Goya illustrates the dramatic moment from Greek mythology when Zeus, disguised as a bull, deceives and carries away Europa. The central figure, Europa, is shown seated upon the back of the bull, her body twisted as she looks back towards the shore. Her gestures and facial expression convey surprise and apprehension, effectively capturing the emotional tumult of the scene. The bull beneath her appears calm and composed, in stark contrast to Europa’s distress. Two female figures on the right side of the painting, likely companions of Europa, extend their arms toward her in a vain attempt to halt the abduction. The painting’s composition utilizes dark, earthy tones to evoke a sense of urgency and unease, while the fluid brushstrokes are characteristic of the Romantic fascination with expressive, emotive content.

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