According to Greek myth, Ganymede, the beautiful prince of Troy, caught the eye of the great god Zeus, who fell in love with the boy. Disguising himself as an eagle, Zeus carried the young prince off to Olympus, where he served as cupbearer to the gods. The contrast seen here between the boy’s soft skin and the bird’s rugged feathers enhances the story’s theme of innocence in the grip of cosmic cunning. With suave, psychologically intense works like this one, Bertel Thorvaldsen influenced a generation of Neoclassical sculptors whose works can be seen nearby.



  • Title: Ganymede and the Eagle
  • Creator: Bertel Thorvaldsen
  • Creator Lifespan: 1770/1844
  • Creator Nationality: Danish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Creator Birth Place: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Date: ca.1815-17
  • Location Created: Rome, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 32 3/8 x 41 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (82.2 x 106 x 41 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Gift of James H. Ricau and Museum purchase
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Marble

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