The Rape of Europa
This painting shows a scene from Greek mythology. Zeus, king of the gods, had become enamoured with Europa, a young mortal woman. While she was gathering flowers, Jupiter transformed into a beautiful white bull to lure her, abducting her once she climbed onto his back. In this idyllic scene, Europa and her companions are still unaware of the ominous events about to take place. Cavallino was based in Naples and painted many literary subjects, including this one, taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses.