The Rape of Europa, by Luca Giordano (1632-1706).

Oil on canvas, 246.5cm by 301cm.

The painting was acquired, with its pair PIC406, in 1683, probably in Florence, by a Mr. Balle, on behalf of John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700).

It depicts the story, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses of the abduction of the fair nymph Europa by the Roman god Jupiter, after he had adopted the form of a bull.

The 1688 Burghley Inventory records: ‘The Drawing Roome….4 very Large pictures in Guilt fframes viz. a Seneca, a Europa, St John decollating and a Diana & Acteon by Jordanus.’

Giordano’s work was much admired by the 5th Earl who purchased several of his paintings.


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