1500 – 1600
End of the Renaissance and the Reformation

Correggio's Jupiter and Io


Correggio, Jupiter and Io, 1532-33, oil on canvas 163.5 x 70.5 cm (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

Jupiter and Io and the other canvases by Correggio discussed in the video, The Rape (Abduction) of Ganymede, Danäe, and Leda and the Swan illustrate stories from the poem Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid. Metamorphoses is, of course about transformation, such as Jupiter becoming a swan, but it is also about love and is one of the most influential texts ever written. Below is a translated excerpt:

Ovid's Metamorphoses: Book I, lines 587-600
Jupiter first saw her returning from her father’s stream, and said ‘Virgin, worthy of Jupiter himself, who will make some unknown man happy when you share his bed, while it is hot and the sun is at the highest point of its arc, find shade in the deep woods! (and he showed her the woods’ shade). But if you are afraid to enter the wild beasts’ lairs, you can go into the remote woods in safety, protected by a god, and not by any lesser god, but by the one who holds the sceptre of heaven in his mighty hand, and who hurls the flickering bolts of lightning. Do not fly from me!’ She was already in flight. She had left behind Lerna’s pastures, and the Lyrcean plain’s wooded fields, when the god hid the wide earth in a covering of fog, caught the fleeing girl, and raped her.
University of Virginia etext, translation from the Latin by Anthony S. Kline, CC BY-NC

Please note, while the video relates the most broadly accepted understanding of the provenance of the painting Jupiter and Io, little is certain, and competing theories do exist.

Your Comments (0)

Add Comments

We think Smarthistory works best when it prompts discussion. Please post (on-topic) comments.*

*All comments are moderated

To post a comment, you need the Adobe Flash Plugin. Download it from here.
This work is an open educational resource and This work is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.