The Origin of the Milky Way (Rubens)

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The Origin of the Milky Way
Peter Paul Rubens - The Birth of the Milky Way, 1636-1637.jpg
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Year c. 1637
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 181 cm × 244 cm (71 in × 96 in)
Location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

The Origin of the Milky Way, or The Birth of the Milky Way,[1] is a painting by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, featuring the Greco-Roman myth of the origin of the Milky Way. The painting depicts Hera (Juno), spilling her breast milk, the infant Heracles (Hercules) and Zeus (Jupiter) in the background, identifiable by his eagle and lightning bolts. Hera's face is modelled on Rubens' wife, Hélène Fourment.[1] The carriage is pulled by Hera's favourite animals, peacocks. Due to the dark background of the night sky the figures gain a greater sense of volume.

The image was a part of the commission from Philip IV of Spain to decorate Torre de la Parada. Rubens also painted other Greco-Roman mythological subjects, such as Hercules Fighting the Nemean Lion or Perseus Freeing Andromeda.

See also


  1. ^ a b "The Birth of the Milky Way". Museo del Prado. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
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