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Master of the Judgement of Paris, The Abduction of Helen

Key facts
Full title The Abduction of Helen
Artist Master of the Judgement of Paris
Artist dates active first half of the 15th century
Date made about 1440-50
Medium and support Tempera on wood
Dimensions 58 × 58 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from a private collection
Inventory number L667
Location Not on display
Image copyright On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission
Collection Main Collection
The Abduction of Helen
Master of the Judgement of Paris

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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