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Work: 67 x 44 cm
Frame: 87 x 61 cm
Zeus was enamoured of Europa and decided to seduce or rape her, the two being near-equivalent in Greek myth. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father's herds. While Europa and her helpers were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete. Zeus gave her a necklace made by Hephaestus and three additional gifts: the bronze automaton guard Talos, the hound Laelaps who never failed to catch his quarry, and a javelin that never missed. Zeus later re-created the shape of the white bull in the stars, which is now known as the constellation Taurus. It should not be confused with the Cretan bull that fathered the Minotaur and was captured by Heracles. Roman mythology adopted the tale of the Raptus, also known as 'The Abduction of Europa' and 'The Seduction of Europa', substituting the god Jupiter for Zeus. (link)