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Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  The abduction Ganimede  (steam for the painting
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Title: The abduction Ganimede

Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)
The abduction Ganimede
(steam for the painting "Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon")
Îil on canvas, 1636
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

In 1636 Rubens had received an order for a large series of paintings based on subjects "Metamorphoses" Ovid. At large vertical painting (steam for the painting "Saturn, Jupiter's father, devours one of his sons, Poseidon") on the diagonal shown nude boys caught Jupiter, which has the face of an eagle. Black plumage birds set off beautifully written body of a naked young man. The artist transmits color colorful dense layer on top of which is widely used glaze, which makes the work remarkable depth and clarity.In Greek mythology, Ganymede, or Ganymedes (Greek: Γανυμήδης, Ganymēdēs) is a divine hero whose homeland was the Troy. He was a Trojan prince, son of the eponymous Tros of Dardania, and of Callirrhoe, and brother of Ilus and Assaracus. Ganymede was the most handsome among mortals, by reason of which he was abducted by Zeus in the form of an eagle to serve as cupbearer to the gods and as Zeus' beloved.Ganymede was abducted by Zeus from Mount Ida in Phrygia, the setting for more than one myth element bearing on the early mythic history of Troy. Ganymede was there, passing the time of exile many heroes undergo in their youth, by tending a flock of sheep or, alternatively, during the chthonic or rustic aspect of his education, while gathering among his friends and tutors. Zeus saw him and fell in love with him instantly, either sending an eagle or turning himself to an eagle to transport Ganymede to Mount Olympus. In the Iliad, the Achaean Diomedes is keen to capture the horses of Aeneas: "They are of the stock that great Jove gave to Tros in payment for his son Ganymede, and are the finest that live and move under the sun."As a Trojan, Ganymede is identified as part of the earliest, pre-Hellenic level of Aegean myth. Plato's Laws states the opinion that the Ganymede myth had been invented by the Cretans – Minoan Crete being a power center of pre-Greek culture – to account for "pleasure [...] beyond nature" imported thence into Greece, as Plato's character indignantly declares. Homer doesn't dwell on the erotic aspect of Ganymede's abduction, but it is certainly in an erotic context that the goddess refers to Ganymede's blond Trojan beauty in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, mentioning Zeus' love for Trojan Ganymede as part of her enticement of Trojan Anchises.

The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes presents a vignette (in Book III) of an immature Ganymede losing to Eros at knucklebones, a child's game. The Roman poet Ovid adds vivid detail - and veiled irony directed against critics of homosexual love: aged tutors reaching out to grab him back with impotent fingers, and Ganymede's hounds barking uselessly at the sky. Statius' Thebaid describes a cup worked with Ganymede's iconic mythos :
"Here the Phrygian hunter is borne aloft on tawny wings, Gargara’s range sinks downwards as he rises, and Troy grows dim beneath him; sadly stand his comrades; vainly the hounds weary their throats with barking, pursue his shadow or bay at the clouds."In Olympus, Zeus made Ganymede his beloved, ing him also immortality and the office of cupbearer to the gods, supplanting Hebe. E. Veckenstedt (Ganymedes, Libau, 1881) endeavoured to prove that Ganymede is the genesis of the intoxicating drink mead, whose original home was Phrygia.

All the gods were filled with joy to see the youth, save Hera, Zeus' consort, who despised Ganymede.

In a possible alternative version, the Titan Eos, dawn-goddess and connoisseur of male beauty, kidnapped Ganymede as well as her better-remembered consort, his brother Tithonus, whose immortality was ed, but not eternal youth. Tithonus indeed lived forever but grew more and more ancient, eventually turning into a cricket, a classic example of the myth-element of the Boon with a Catch. Tithonus is placed in the Dardanian lineage through Tros, an eponym for Troy, as Ganymede. Robert Graves (The Greek Myths) interpreted the substitution of Ganymede for Tithonus in a few references to the myth as a misreading of an archaic icon that would have shown the consort of the winged Goddess bearing a libation cup in his hand. (Compare the scholiast on Apollonius of Rhodes, iii:115; Virgil, Aeneid i:32; Hyginus, Fabula 224.) A genesis for the Ganymede myth as a whole has been offered in a Hellene reading of one of the numerous Akkadian seals depicting the hero-king Etana riding heavenwards on an eagle.
Tros grieved for his son. Sympathetic, Zeus had Hermes deliver a gift of two immortal horses, so swift they could run over water (or perhaps the gift was a golden vine). Hermes also assured Ganymede's father that the boy was now immortal and would be the cupbearer for the gods, a position of much distinction. The theme of the father recurs in many of the Greek coming-of-age myths of male love, suggesting that the pederastic relationships symbolized by these stories took place under the supervision of the father.

Zeus later put Ganymede in the sky as the constellation Aquarius, which is still associated with that of the Eagle (Aquila). However his name would also be given by modern astronomy to one of the moons of Jupiter, the planet that was named after Zeus' Roman counterpart. Ganymede was afterwards also regarded as the genius of the fountains of the Nile, the life-giving and fertilizing river. Thus the divinity that distributed drink to the gods in heaven became the genius who presided over the due supply of water on earth.

In poetry, Ganymede was a symbol for the ideally beautiful youth and also for homosexual love, sometimes contrasted with Helen of Troy in the role of heterosexuality. One of the earliest references to Ganymede was in Homer's Iliad. In Crete, where, Greek writers asserted, the love of boys was reduced to a system, king Minos, the primitive law-giver, was called the ravisher of Ganymede. Thus the name which once denoted the good genius who bestowed the precious gift of water upon man was adopted to this use in vulgar Latin under the form catamitus: in Rome the passive object of homosexual desire was a catamite. The Latin word is a corruption of Greek ganymedes but retains no strong mythological connotation in Latin: when Ovid sketches the myth briefly (Metamorphoses x:152-161), "Ganymedes" retains his familiar Greek name.

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Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek  Oil on wood, 1625  Overall: 65.5 x 82.4 cm (25 13/16 x 32 7/16 in.) framed: 96.8 x 113.4 cm (38 1/8 x 44 5/8 in.)  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USAPeter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  The abduction Ganimede  (steam for the painting Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640)  The Landing of Marie de' Médici at Marseilles  Oil on canvas, 1623-1625  155 x 116 1/8 inches (394 x 295 cm)  Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
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