Aegina Visited by Jupiter

Jean-Baptiste Greuze French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 632

Greuze insisted on submitting a painting to the French Royal Academy that would gain him entry as a history painter, resulting in numerous false starts including this ambitious but unfinished canvas. It evokes the goddess Danaë, but may represent Aegina, daughter of the river god Asopus, who was visited by Jupiter and carried off by him in the form of an eagle. In 1767 Greuze wrote to the art critic Denis Diderot that he "should very much like to paint a woman totally nude without offending modesty," perhaps in reference to this work. A few years later Greuze finally submitted a different subject, Septimius Severus and Caracalla (1769; Musée du Louvre, Paris), which despite its aspirations failed to earn him the status of history painter.

Aegina Visited by Jupiter, Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris), Oil on canvas

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