Abduction of Leucippus' daughters - Rubens. 224x211
It remains a mystery why the artist beautifully “partitioned” the girls - the sisters Gilairu and Phoebe, the daughters of Leucippus, and placed them in a clean field, in the midday heat, where Castor and Pollux, who are beautiful cousins, “according to ancient mythology”, “beat them”.
Of course, maestro Peter Paul Rubens has a well-established reputation as a “singer” of the human body and a master of intense, multi-figure scenes with a complex, compositional design and, traditionally, veiled meaning. The composition of this canvas is rhythmic and, at first glance, tense, but still the master masterfully entered all eight figures first in a circular motion, and then, in an almost regular square.
The movement starts from above, from sitting on a horse and raising Castor's girl, to the second girl, whose hand, as it were, repels the leg of Pollux standing on the ground and returning to the previous point, soars up to the sky. There, to the sky, the gaze of the girls, either imploring the gods for salvation, or grateful for the sent suitors, is fixed (after all, they are abducted for marriage!).
Bright, bright spots of gorgeous, curved in a rush of figures of red-haired girls, perfectly contrast with the tanned, strong figures of young men in military armor. Developing, as if in the wind, red and dark green fabrics behind the backs of men and white and golden fabrics wrapping their sisters create a magnificent decorative color effect of the entire canvas. The figures of the characters are at the same time tense in a fit and, as if according to the artist’s intention, slowed down the movement to emphasize the climax of what is happening.
The little cupids hanging on the necks of the captors' horses clearly show the romantic plans of the captors. The low horizon line creates a wonderful contrast of the whole multi-figure composition against the background of a bright sky, enhancing its general pathetics. Rubens succeeded in creating an unusually decorative composition, brilliantly interweaving and juxtaposing lines and shapes. The master, as usual, admires the young, strong, healthy bodies of the characters, giving them a little excessive "splendor" and rude, earthly beauty.
Initially, a dramatic, ancient antique plot acquires a powerful aesthetic sound on the author’s canvas, “Baroque” grace and splendor, but at the same time, ease and lightness. The great Flemish, as if taking us away from reality, creates a complex game of lines and color spots, giving his characters extraordinary sensuality, strength and thirst for life.