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The Abduction of Orithyia
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The Abduction of Orithyia

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This composition, a copy of a replica of around 1730 by the great Neapolitan artist Solimena after his own earlier painting of 1701, represents a scene adapted from "The Metamorphoses," the famous poem on the loves of the gods by the 1st-century Roman author Ovid. The north wind Boreas was in love with Orithya, the daughter of the king of Athens. She refused him, and, in anger, the god abducted the frightened young woman from amid her maidens-in-waiting. Flying cupids (little gods of love) symbolize the passion that motivated Boreas. The dramatic use of flickering patches of light and shadow is characteristic of Solimena's style although the color is less intense. Copies of popular compositions were avidly bought for inclusion in decorative arrangements. For more information on this painting, please see Federico Zeri's 1976 catalogue no. 431, p. 543.
  • Flight, Fantasy, Faith, Fact. Dayton Art Institute, Dayton. 1953-1954.
  • A Taste for Angels: Neapolitan Painting in North America, 1650-1750. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City. 1987-1988.
  • Going for Baroque. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1995-1996.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome [date and mode of acquisition unkonwn] [1881 catalogue: no. 230; 1897 catalogue: no. 454]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1730 (Baroque)
oil on canvas
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 38 7/8 x W: 53 1/4 in. (98.8 x 135.2 cm)


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