The Abduction of Helen

about 1440-50, Master of the Judgement of Paris

On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission
Paris is carrying off Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, while her companions stand elegantly by. It was this action which precipitated the Trojan War. Helen may also be the woman on the left in conversation with a female companion.

The scene is painted on a 'desco da parto' or birth tray. 'Deschi da parto' were symbolic painted trays given to women either after or in anticipation of childbirth. They were often painted on the back with the emblems of the family.

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