Europa and the Bull, ca. 1645
Bernardo Cavallino and follower (Johann Heinrich Schönfeld? 1609-1683)
Italian, 1616-ca. 1656
Oil on canvas
"The Latin poet Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, tells a tale of the god Jupiter, who fell in love with Europa, daughter of the Phoenician King Agenor. Jupiter, by disguising himself as a bull, succeeded in persuading Europa to climb upon his back and carried her off to the island of Crete. Like many Neapolitan artists of his generation, Cavallino was influenced by Caravaggio, who had worked in Naples, an influence apparent in the dramatic contrasts of light and shade that add drama and anticipation to this scene. There is an elfin quality to the two principal figures here, typical of Cavallino's intense but piquant style. The coarser figures in the background, however, were probably added by an assistant."