In ancient Roman or ancient Greek mythology there is a beautiful story about a very beautiful, one might even say, divinely beautiful young man named Ganymede. His beauty was so captivating that nymphs and even the goddess Olympus instantly fell in love with him. In the end, Zeus himself just fell in love with him, just like that. and he simply didn’t think of anything else to abduct Ganymede, so that he would not go to any earthly woman or nymph or goddess. Zeus transformed into a huge eagle, which he did, by the way, often, and on the wings carried Ganymede to Olympus.
Soon Ganymede was granted immortality, and he became a cupbearer in Olympus. Although no one at Olympus consumed wine except Bacchus. The gods mostly drank nectar on Olympus, but Ganymede nevertheless had this particular position. He stayed on Olympus.
And Rubens captured this particular abduction. The main thing on this canvas is the eagle. He is so realistic drawn that it seems that he will come to life and fly away, together with a handsome young man. And by the way, Rubens on this canvas told this myth completely, showing all stages of the story. And even indicating what Ganymede will do on Olympus. Notice what exactly the Ganymede girl is holding out ... This is a bowl, a large gilded wine bowl.
All the action takes place already in heaven, already on Olympus, already during the feast, because in the distance the gods are just visible at the table where the angels serve them. That is, Ganymede is already fulfilling his duties and distributing cups of wine. And by the way, Zeus did not return the young man, he left him for himself ... As one mythology source says, "Ganymede shared the bed with Zeus." It is difficult to say whether this is so or not, but the fact that the young man was constantly nearby was confirmed by other sources. Of course, this topic is now very relevant in our time, but in the time of Rubens it was completely under some serious church ban. This was blasphemy, but as life shows, many often violated the ban. The forbidden fruit is always sweet, but certainly not to such an extent.
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