Zeus as an eagle, abducting Ganymede

Artist: Giovanni Battista Palumba (Italian, active ca. 1500–1520)

Date: 1500–1510

Medium: Woodcut (this appears to be a later impression)

Dimensions: Sheet: 14 3/16 × 9 13/16 in. (36 × 25 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.2.9


Among Jupiter's many loves was the boy Ganymede, whom the god, in the guise of an eagle, carried off to Olympus to serve as his cupbearer. Palumba's woodcut follows Virgil's description (Aeneid 5.250–57) of a cloak embroidered with a depiction of the Trojan prince's abduction while hunting on Mount Ida. As Virgil writes, as the beautiful youth is born aloft in the eagle's talons, his guardians stretch their hands in vain to Heaven and the barking of his dogs rises to the skies.