This painting demonstrates Artemisia Gentileschi’s success in capturing textures. These include the golden strands of hair that caress the figure’s shoulder, the lush fabric of the bedcover, and the metal coins that fall upon bare flesh. Such sensuous effects are appropriate to the ancient Greek story of Danaë, a young woman who was confined to a chamber by her father to prevent her becoming pregnant. An oracle (or seer) had predicted she would bear a son who would kill her own father. Zeus, king of the gods, was able to thwart the plan by transforming himself into a golden rain to impregnate Danaë. Painted when Gentileschi was only 19 years old, this picture reflects the skill, learned from her father Orazio, to paint subtle flesh tones and rich surfaces.


  • Title: Danaë
  • Creator: Artemisia Gentileschi
  • Date Created: c.1612
  • Physical Dimensions: 16 1/4 × 20 3/4 inches
  • Medium: oil on copper
  • School: Italian
  • More Info: For more information
  • Artist Dates: 1593–c.1654
  • Acquisition Credit: From the collection of the Saint Louis Art Museum | Purchase and gift of Edward Mallinckrodt, Sydney M. Shoenberg Sr., Horace Morison, Mrs. Florence E. Bing, Morton D. May in honor of Perry T. Rathbone, Mrs. James Lee Johnson Jr., Oscar Johnson, Fredonia J. Moss, Mrs. Arthur Drefs, Mrs. W. Welles Hoyt, J. Lionberger Davis, Jacob M. Heimann, Virginia Linn Bullock in memory of her husband, George Benbow Bullock, C. Wickham Moore, Mrs. Lyda D'Oench Turley and Miss Elizabeth F. D'Oench, and J. Harold Pettus, and bequests of Mr. Alfred Keller and Cora E. Ludwig, by exchange 93:1986

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