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The Abduction of Europa

Noël-Nicolas Coypel, French, 1690 - 1734

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

50 1/4 inches × 6 feet 4 3/8 inches (127.6 × 194 cm) Framed: 58 5/8 inches × 7 feet 1 inches × 5 inches (148.9 × 215.9 × 12.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 383, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Acquired with the kind assistance of John Cadwalader, Jr., through the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Bullitt (by exchange), the Edith H. Bell Fund, and other Museum funds, 1978

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According to the story told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, the god Jupiter, smitten with the nymph Europa, transformed himself into a white bull and abducted her. Here Jupiter swims away with Europa on his back attended by a host of sea deities. Celebrated since it was entered in a royal painting competition in 1727, this picture has been in Philadelphia since 1815. It belonged to Joseph Bonaparte, who lived here in exile following the fall of his brother, the emperor Napoleon.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.