Skip to main content

Damiano Mazza, The Rape of Ganymede

Key facts
Full title The Rape of Ganymede
Artist Damiano Mazza
Artist dates active 1573
Date made about 1575
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 177.2 × 188.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG32
Location On loan: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, Chimei Museum, Tainan City, Taiwan
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Rape of Ganymede
Damiano Mazza

A black eagle soars into the clouds with a naked youth clutched in its talons. In Greek mythology, Jupiter was infatuated with the handsome youth Ganymede, whom he abducted in the guise of an eagle and carried away to the home of the gods, Mount Olympus, where he was made their cupbearer.

The sole of the boy’s right foot is lit from below and his scarf floats beneath the bird’s powerful beating wings, creating the impression that the scene is taking place high up in the air. Mazza may have used suspended figures made of wood, clay and wax to work out the poses for his paintings, a technique he may have learnt from his presumed master, Titian.

The painting was originally shaped as an irregular octagon, but canvas was added in the early eighteenth century to make it up to a rectangle. At that time, Prussian blue was painted over the discoloured grey smalt pigment in the sky.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo