In 1770 Pierre succeeded his famed older rival, François Boucher, as First Painter to King Louis XV. He was also named Director of the French Academy of Painting, hence occupying the pinnacle of power in the French art world during the last decades of the monarchy. The Abduction of Europa was commissioned by a prestigious collector as a companion to a painting by Boucher. Boucher's painting, today in the Wallace Collection, London, depicts Jupiter in the guise of a bull gently winning the confidence of Europa, who drapes his horns with a crown of flowers. Pierre focuses instead on the next moment in the narrative when Europa mounts the bull, who carries her off across the water, abducted as his bride. Pierre's painting is a typical rococo confection, emphasizing delicate colors, harmonious composition, and elegant postures. Serious drama cedes to a lighthearted atmosphere, colored by the frivolous, even amoral, excesses of the court at the end of the Ancien Régime.


  • Title: The Abduction of Europa
  • Date Created: 1750
  • Physical Dimensions: Overall: 96 x 108 1/2 in. (2 m 43.84 cm x 2 m 75.59 cm)
  • Type: Paintings
  • External Link: https://www.dma.org/object/artwork/3056820/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Credit Line: Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O'Hara Fund
  • Artist Nationality: French
  • Artist: Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre

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