By: R. Phillips & Co.
Date: 1821 (circa)
Dimensions: 6.75 x 8.25 inches (17.15 cm x 21 cm)
Description: This lovely antique engraving features the constellation Taurus, the bull, one of the largest constellations in the night sky. So easily identifiable is Taurus that man is thought to have identified it at least ten thousand years ago. It is clearly described in Babylonian writings, and by the time of the ancient Greeks, a myth concerning Zeus, king of the gods, had evolved concerning it. In order to woo those whom he desired, Zeus often disguised himself, in myriad forms.
When Europa, daughter of King Agenor, aroused his amorous attentions, he turned himself into a strikingly beautiful bull and positioned himself amongst the cattle in a herd belonging to the King, biding his time. One day the lovely Europa ventured out to the herd where she caught sight of the bull, and, mesmerized by his beauty approached him and climbed onto his back. Zeus immediately lept into the sea with Europa and took her to the island of Crete, where he revealed his true identity to her, proclaiming that she was to be his mistress. In time Europa gave birth to three sons by Zeus, who later commemorated his conquest by placing the figure of the bull in the night sky.
The myth has inspired countless works of art, one of the most beautiful and compelling being ‘The Rape of Europa’ by Russian artist Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov, in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
Condition: This engraving is in B+ condition. Folded as issued. Toning and mild soiling at the outer edges. Careless cutting has removed the publishers’ name but does not enter the image.
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