Aurora Taking Leave of Tithonus

Francesco Solimena1704

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Aurora, the goddess of dawn, sits enthroned on a cloud while a winged genius crowns her with a wreath of red and white flowers. Her arms outstretched and raised, Aurora holds a torch in her right hand and a small bouquet of flowers in her left. A putto flies forward carrying a gilded dish of more flowers. Night looms behind but, as goddess of dawn, Aurora will soon dispel the darkness. Below, her aged husband Tithonus shields his eyes from his wife's brightness. After seducing Tithonus when he was young and beautiful, Aurora asked Zeus to grant him immortality, but she forgot to ask for eternal youth as well. Every morning, the eternally youthful goddess had to rise and bid goodbye to Tithonus, who grows older each day.

This large canvas and its pendant, Venus at the Forge of Vulcan, were probably parts of a larger ensemble made for the Procurator Canale in Venice. The series may commemorate a marriage, as the two pictures depict gifts exchanged between goddesses and their husbands.

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  • Title: Aurora Taking Leave of Tithonus
  • Creator: Francesco Solimena
  • Date: 1704
  • Physical Dimensions: 201.9 x 151.8 cm (79 1/2 x 59 3/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.PA.65
  • Display Location: Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum East Pavilion, Gallery E103
  • Department: Paintings
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Paintings


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