RENI, Guido
(b. 1575, Calvenzano, d. 1642, Bologna)

The Rape of Deianira

Oil on canvas, 239 x 193 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The subject is taken from Ovid (Met. 9:101-133). On a journey, Hercules and Deianira came to a river where the centaur Nessus was the ferryman. While carrying Deianira across he attempted to ravish her. Hercules, already on the further bank, drew his bow and slew Nessus.

This painting belongs to the cycle of Hercules, intended for the Duke of Mantua. The artist applies successfully the study of the human body, blending a naturalistic touch with his passion for Greek statues. The joyful ardour which is expressed on the face of the young centaur carrying off Deianira should be noted.