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The Judgement of Paris
Joachim Wtewael
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Wtewael’s sumptuous picture, full of soft, subtle colour, shows the precursor to the mythological Trojan War. Jupiter, ruler of the gods, has sent Eris (the personification of strife) to provoke a quarrel about which goddess is the most beautiful: Minerva, goddess of war, with her helmet and spear; Juno, Jupiter’s wife, her peacock in the trees above; or Venus, goddess of love, with pearls in her hair.

The shepherd Paris, in reality a Trojan prince, was chosen to be the judge; he hands Venus the golden apple marked ‘To the Fairest’. Venus had offered him Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta and the most beautiful woman in the world, as a bribe, sowing the seeds of the war. But for the moment, Paris' flock and his dog lie down in the midst of peace and plenty – fur nestles against flesh, silk against petals and luscious shells among feathery grasses.

Key facts
Artist Joachim Wtewael
Artist dates 1566 - 1638
Full title The Judgement of Paris
Date made 1615
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 59.8 x 79.2 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Claude Dickason Rotch, 1962
Inventory number NG6334
Location in Gallery Room 24
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