Description of the picture:
Court of Paris – Peter Paul Rubens. 1639
Rubens has several paintings on this subject: he was attracted by the opportunity to write three beautiful naked women against the background of an ideal pastoral landscape.
In the version before us (1639), Paris is depicted in a shepherd’s outfit, gazing at three magnificent naked women whom he asked to take off his clothes so that nothing would interfere with judging their beauty. He admires the goddesses standing in front of him from different angles. Mercury holds an apple, which will be the winner’s reward. Minerva (Athena) depicted with an owl (her armor is nearby), Venus (Aphrodite) accompanies her son Cupid, and Juno (Hera) – peacock. The meek appearance of the goddesses and graceful poses do not portend the fatal consequences of the decision that Paris must make and which led to the Trojan War.
PARIS. When the son of Paris was born to the Trojan king Priam, it was predicted that he would cause the death of his country. The father ordered the death of the baby, but the servant to whom it was entrusted left him on Mount Ide. Paris was found and raised by shepherds.
In the famous court, Paris was assigned the role of a judge who was to present the award – the golden apple of discord – the most beautiful of the goddesses. Juno proposed making him the most powerful of the kings, Minerva the bravest hero, and Venus promised him the love of the most beautiful woman, Elena from Sparta. This influenced the decision of Paris and the prize went to Venus, but this decision caused resentment among Juno and Minerva. Paris decided to abduct Elena. The Greeks, threatening Three with a war, demanded that she be returned. Thus, the court of Paris became the cause of the Trojan War, which ended in the destruction of Troy."