Skip to main content
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.

Key facts
Artist Damiano Mazza
Artist dates active 1573
Full title The Rape of Ganymede
Date made about 1575
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 177.2 x 188.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG32
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

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.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo