One of the motifs in which Thorvaldsen became interested during his visit to the gardens of the Villa Borghese, was this, the principal motif in the ceiling decoration in Gallery 18 on the first floor of the villa. The painting, Jupiter and Antiope, is the work of Bénigne Gagneraux and was made in 1797. The literary source is Ovid’s Metamorphoses, 6th Canto, verses 110-111, which tell of the fabric Arachne wove in competition with Minerva. In this tapestry, Arachne portrayed Jupiter when, dressed as a satyr, he surprises Antiope on her couch. The small figure of Cupid makes the content of the scene very clear indeed. Thorvaldsen also possessed a copperprint after Gagneraux’ painting.


  • Title: Jupiter as Satyr and Antiope
  • Date Created: 1797
  • Sculptor: Bertel Thorvaldsen
  • Physical Dimensions: w15.5 x h9.9 cm (Complete)
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: Thorvaldsens Museum

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