Today a little-known artist, Van Loo worked in Amsterdam, where he produced portraits and genre pieces as well as history paintings such as the one discussed here. In the 1650s, Van Loo was regarded as one of the finest painters in the city. In 1660 he settled in Paris where he became a member of the Academie and the progenitor of a family of artists, the most famous of which was his grandson, Carle Vanloo. This painting revolves around the story of Danaë, the daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos. After an oracle foretold that she would give birth to a murderer, her father locked her up under the watchful eye of an old nurse. But Zeus assumed the form of a shower of golden rain and entered the chamber through the cracks in the roof; he impregnated Danaë, and in due course she gave birth to Perseus. The prophecy was eventually fulfilled when Perseus accidentally killed his grandfather with a throw of the discus.