The Abduction of the Daughters of Leucippus

7:00 AM

Peter Paul Rubens, The Abduction of the Daughters of Leucippus, 1617-18
"Though she give them not, yet take the kisses she does not give. Perhaps she will struggle at first and cry, "You villain!" Yet she will wish to be beaten in the struggle....He who has taken kisses, if he take not the rest beside, will deserve to lose even what was granted.... You may use force; women like you to use it....She whom a sudden assault has taken by storm is pleased....But she who, when she might have been compelled, departs untouched...will yet be sad. Phoebe suffered violence, violence was used against her sister: each ravisher found favour with the one he ravished," (Taken from a story in the collections from Theocritus and Ovid).

King Leucippus, in Greek mythology, is the father of the Leucippides. He was the father of Phoebe and Hilaeira, the girls portrayed in the painting. The two men kidnapping the girls are Castor and Pollux, who are twin brothers. The two men abducted the girls and then forced them into marriage. After the incident occured and Idas and Lynceus, nephews of Leucippus, and rival suitors, heard word of it they went to kill Castor and Pollux. They killed Castor, but were unable to kill Pollux because he had been granted immortality by Zeus. Pollux persuaded Zeus to grant Castor immortality as well. 

Rubens painting does much to show the struggle in the painting, but it also tones it down as well. The girls in the painting are thrashing their limbs, and their bodies look contorted showing their struggle and the will to try to escape their captors. However, the looks on the faces of the two brothers seem calm. Even with the girls struggling, they are so much more powerful that it is as if the girls' struggle hardly effects them. This painting clearly demonstrates the dominance of male over the female. The angel in the background seems to ignore the scene, almost making sexual violence an innocent aspect. Although this painting is referred to as The Abduction of the Daughters of Leucippus, it is also known as The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus.

You Might Also Like

0 comments