The Europa convex mirror frame is made of composite material. I re-finished and gilded it gold leaf. Layers of transparent gold, yellow, clear and straw colored Venetian glass rods are stacked on the “rays” of the sunburst. The center is made up of citrine spheres.
This mirror is about 10 inches in diameter. It is in my studio until being shipped to one of my showrooms.
The Abduction of Europa by Titian painted between 1560-1562.
Titian’s Rape of Europa, painted in Venice in the 1560s, is inspired by a story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Infatuated with Europa, Jupiter—king of the gods—transforms himself into a beautiful white bull and joins a herd grazing near the seashore. Europa, close by with her companions, approaches the beautiful creature with hand outstretched. Finding him tame, she plays with the bull in a meadow and entwines flowers around his horns. When she climbs playfully on his back, the mischievous god seizes the opportunity and springs into the sea, spiriting away the target of his affections while she clings to him in terror.
Jupiter races across the ocean and Europa holds on by one horn. Gazing back over her shoulder toward the shoreline, she waves a red silk veil to attract attention. Europa’s companions respond with their own frantic signals (note the herd of cows still grazing to their left). Titian dramatizes her immediate danger of drowning by positioning in the foreground a menacing, scaly sea monster bristling with spines. Nearby a cupid chases after Europa on a dolphin. His pose mimics hers, perhaps poking fun at her plight. The forced union of Europa and Jupiter eventually led to a historic event: the birth of Minos, king of Crete and the Minoans, the first European civilization.
With the help of Bernard Berenson, Isabella Stewart Gardner bought Titian’s Rape of Europa from the Earl of Darnley in 1896, and it became the crown jewel of her muse-um’s growing collection. When the painting arrived in Boston, she wrote with delight to Berenson, “I am back here tonight . . . after a two days’ orgy. The orgy was drinking myself drunk with Europa and then sitting for hours in my Italian Garden at Brookline, thinking and dreaming about her.”
Thanks to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston for the above.
A map of Europe circa 1701.
Europa, one of the small moons orbiting the planet Jupiter.
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The richness of the interior of Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna is truly mind boggling. All the mosaics are executed in the Hellenistic-Roman tradition: lively and imaginative, with rich colors and a certain perspective, and with a vivid depiction of the landscape, plants and birds. And the gold!