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The Abduction of the Daughters of Leucippus

(By Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, 1577 - 1640) (By Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish painter, 1577 - 1640) Even in “high art” a theme’s integrity will sometimes be placed in jeopady. Such is the case in this masterwork by Ruben and which I hope to show and why, though critics and scholars are sure to find my judgements those of an unsound mind. First of all, I find the theme less serious than expected, and far more ludicrous and for reasons stylistically grotesque though typically hardcore rubenesque; namely, the artist’s obsession for then heavy-set (vulgarly “larded”) women given exaggerated proportions and extra painterly distortions, the more so when they’re mythological and layered wth flesh overly carnal whether they be gods or goddesses masculine, feminine or genderless. Now for my proofs for this critique (a word I use here tongue-in-cheek) for my focus is not the painting as a whole but the abductor’s struggle to hold his abductee and lift her onto his horse and that accomplished, carry her off. But here’s where Ruben, it seems to me, loses it and somehow incongruously gives the dark deed a burst of hilarity to a setting of lustful depravity! Worse, giving doubtful speculation to even the success of the abduction! For his hand has already lost its grip and, unless I’m blind, she’s about to slip a**ward on her pendulous rear, an unintended setback to Ruben’s career, yet if false jeopardize my reputation as a critic of keen observation. Lastly, a tip worthy of any abductor: guesstimate her weight first long before attempting to lift and speed her off, whether by a car or by a horse.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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Date: 1/25/2020 3:20:00 AM
A wonderful tribute to Rubenesque women!
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