The Trial of Paris by Petrus Paulus Rubens

The Trial of Paris by Petrus Paulus Rubens
The Trial of Paris by Petrus Paulus Rubens

Rubens painted on various occasions pictures with the mythological scene of the Judgment of Paris. Here, for example, we have already seen one of them exhibiting at the Museo del Prado in Madrid. And now we show you an earlier one, from around 1597, which is kept in the National Gallery in London. By the way, in the same London art gallery there is still another much later canvas with the same theme.


The Paris Trial of Rubens

But what does this painting represent that I painted it so many times? This is the episode in which Paris, son of Priam the king of Troy, is judging the beauty of three goddesses. And not just any goddesses, they are Venus, Minerva and Juno. An act in which Paris finally chooses Venus and offers her a golden apple for it. In reality, he is choosing between Venus the goddess of love, Minerva the goddess of wisdom and just causes, and Juno, the personification of fidelity.

That is to say, it is like a version of another very famous painting by Rubens, such as The Three Graces, which represent virtues such as beauty, charm and good spirits.

That served the artist to once again work on the female nudes that are so abundant on his canvases. Always voluptuous women, with curved shapes that reflect the beauty ideal of the moment. In this way there are common traits in the women who paint themselves in those years, since they always tend tobe wide hips, while the breasts are small.

In the women ofPetrus Paulus Rubens, the author delights in her carnality. Always luminous bodies in which they incorporate shadows and reflections that make them the most sensual. Those tones for female bodies are a little different in the case of male figures. It's a subtle thing, but very important to look at.

By the way, in this painting the painter is also proposing that we judge these beautiful women (or what they represent), and choose which one we like best. He proposes this game to us by presenting us to Paris completely from the back, sitting and looking at the goddesses. In reality, the rest of the men who appear on the screen only look at the three women. It is something like inviting us to an act of voyeurism and that we also look at those naked women through the eyes of Paris himself. And that we decide what our ideal is: love, justice or fidelity.

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