Painting “The Abduction of Leucipp’s Daughters”, Rubens

Painting “The Abduction of Leucipp’s Daughters”, Rubens
Painting "The Abduction of Leucipp's Daughters", Rubens - 1

  • Posted by Peter Paul Rubens
  • Museum: Old Pinakotheka
  • Year: Around 1617-1618

Description of the picture :

The abduction of the daughters of Levkipp – Rubens. Around 1617-1618. Oil on canvas. 224×211

   It remains a mystery – why the artist beautifully “section” the girls – the sisters Gilair and Phoebe, the daughters of Levkipp, and placed them in a clean field, in a midday heat, where they are “conditionally abducted” by Castor and Pollux, who are beautiful cousins, according to ancient mythology.

   Of course, the master Peter Paul Rubens has a well-established reputation as a “singer” of the human body and a master of tense, multi-figure scenes with a complex, composite plan and, traditionally, veiled meaning. The composition of this canvas is rhythmic and, at first glance, tense, but still the master master master master master master master masterly entered all eight figures first into the circular motion, and then, into an almost correct square.

   The movement begins from above, from the one sitting on the horse and raising the girl of Castor, to the second girl, whose hand seems to push the leg of Pollux standing on the ground and returning to the previous point, soars up to the sky. There, to heaven, the eyes of the girls are fixed, either begging the gods for salvation, or thanks to those sent by the suitors, (after all, they are abducted for their marriage!).

   Bright, bright spots of luxurious, curved in a swift fit of red-haired girls, contrast perfectly with tanned, strong figures of young men in military armor. Developing, as if in the wind, red and dark green fabrics behind the backs of men and white and golden fabrics that blame the sisters create a magnificent color decorative effect of the entire canvas. The characters’ figures are simultaneously tense in a fit and, as if, according to the artist’s plan, slowed down to emphasize the climax of what was happening.

   The little tedders hanging on the neck of the horses of the abductors clearly testify to the romantic intentions of the abductors. The low horizon line creates a wonderful contrast of the entire multi-figure composition against the background of a light sky, reinforcing its common pathetics. Rubens managed to create an unusually decorative composition, brilliantly intertwine and compare lines and forms. The master, as usual, admires the young, strong, healthy bodies of the characters, giving them a little excessive “challenge” and rude, earthly beauty.

   Initially, the dramatic, ancient ancient plot, acquires a powerful aesthetic sound, “baroque” grace and splendor on the author’s canvas, but at the same time laid-back and lightness. The great Flemish, as if taking us away from reality, creates a complex game of lines and color spots, endowing his characters with extraordinary sensuality, strength and thirst for life.