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Hebe sleeping

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse1869

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

In Greek and Roman mythology, Hebe, the daughter of Jupiter and Juno, was the goddess of youth and cupbearer of the gods, whose role was to serve their drinks. She was a very popular female figure with 19th century sculptors - some of the more well known include Canova, Thorwaldsen, Rude and Aizelin - who were captivated by this heroine.

Carrier-Belleuse himself, on several occasions, chose this subject which attracted statue makers not only for the theme of drinking and feasting, but for the contrast it offered between the slender body of the young goddess and the powerful image of the eagle symbolising Jupiter.

With this monumental version in marble that he sent to the 1869 Salon, the huge, powerful eagle envelopes the sleeping goddess in his wings and protects her as she rests.

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