E.9 Rape of Europa

E.9 Boyvin?, Rape of Europa

Engraving by René Boyvin?, 21.2 x 10.4 L (Vienna).

Fig.E.9 (Vienna)

Robert-Dumesnil, VIII, 1850, 30-31, no. 26.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, I, 506, 15, as Boyvin after Rosso.  Herbet, III, 1899, 36 (1969, 124).  Levron, 1941, 74, no. 175, Pl. LXXV.

COLLECTIONS: London, W3-126.  Paris, Ed. 3.  Vienna, F.I.3., p.12, no. 21.


Mariette, Abécédario, 1858-1859, 19, as Boyvin after Rosso.

Kusenberg, 1931, 161.  Linzeler, 1932, 174.

Borea, 1980, 258, no. 655, 261, Fig. (London).

Carroll, 1987, 44, 268-269, no. 84, with Fig. (Vienna).


This engraving reproduces in the original direction the composition by Rosso at the left of the Royal Elephant in the Gallery of Francis I (Fig.P.22, VI N a).  Europa is entirely nude in the print, while drapery falls around her thigh and buttock in the painting.  There is also more drapery elsewhere in the painting.  Europa’s hair has ribbons in the print.  In the print, the bull’s testicles are far larger, and its right leg is entirely visible.  The bullrushes are at the left of the bull in the somewhat oval painting and in the lower left corner of the rectangular engraving.

The print is probably based on a lost drawing by Rosso of 1534-1536 that was slightly modified – towards a slightly greater modesty – in the painting.

As the print is neither signed nor bears Boyvin’s monogram, his authorship or that of his shop is not certain.  Boyvin’s prints are generally in reverse of their models but this engraving is not.  The print forms a pair with E.10 (Fig.E.10), Saturn and Philyra.  Robert-Dumesnil believes the Rape of Europa is better executed but this is not necessarily true.