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ZEUS, GANYMEDE AND A NAUGHTY PAINTER

April 3, 2019

By: LdL

This week we are a bit mythological, and if there is a mythology that stands out from the rest because of its intrigues, jealousy, revenge, etc. etc. that is the Greek, of which being several gods and goddesses who had human lovers, no doubt who else had fun was Zeus, who managed to seduce his many conquests now in the form of golden rain, now converted into a bull, in a swan, etc. and although most of the relationships maintained by the gods were heterosexual in nature, we have some examples where the beloved’s gender corresponded to that of the god of the day.

Probably the most famous case being that of Zeus and Ganymede, the latter was a Trojan prince, son of King Tros, who one day was on Mount Ida taking care of a flock of sheep was seen by Zeus, who He was captivated by his beauty, so he decided to become an eagle to rapture him to Mount Olympus with the purpose of having carnal treatment with him, so well must have been the god, who made the decision to leave on Olympus making it in his lover, giving him a very important occupation for a simple mortal, which was to be the cupbearer of the gods, doing it immortally, all this without caring about his wife’s jealousy.

This myth was widely represented during antiquity, retaking strongly from the Renaissance, being since then frequent in the Western are.

We would like to show you one of the funniest representations of the myth, made by Rubens for the Torre de la Parada, or what is the same for King Felipe IV, and which is in the Museo del Prado in which we believe that the composition presented by the painter was not casual, but rather a kind of visual joke only understandable to those more savvy.

Here we leave the image, to see if they find the element that gives rise to this interpretation (a clue, has to do with the quiver)

If you have not noticed, we explain, the quiver is a device used to hold the arrows, so it has an opening at one end, are usually attached to the back by a strap, in this case, given the violence of the rapture, the quiver has remained horizontal, although slightly inclined and perfectly aligned with the back and genitals of Ganymede, coinciding the opening with the back, and the blind part and in this case rounded with the penis of our frightened prince, as anticipating a bit the nature of the rapture. Artist’s joke or forced interpretation? In any case, this is one of the greatness of art, its ability to generate readings that transcend time or new readings as a function of the evolution of time.

Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganymede_(mythology)

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