The Abduction of Helen

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.

Key facts

Artist dates
active first half of the 15th century
Full title
The Abduction of Helen
Date made
about 1440-50
Medium and support
Tempera on wood
58 x 58 cm
Acquisition credit
On loan from a private collection
Inventory number
Location in Gallery