The J. Paul Getty Museum

Boreas Abducting Orithyia

Object Details


Boreas Abducting Orithyia


After a model by Gaspard Marsy (French, 1624 - 1681)




Paris, France (Place Created)


cast 1693–1710



Object Number:



104.5 × 53.5 × 45 cm (41 1/8 × 21 1/16 × 17 11/16 in.)

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Object Description

Gaspard Marsy's bronze of Boreas Abducting Orithyia entwines three figures in a complex and compact spiral: a small reclining Zephyr, the young but powerful Boreas, whose puffed-out cheeks refer to his identity as the North Wind, and the struggling Orithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens. According to Greek mythology, Boreas brought Orithyia to Thrace, where the two reigned as King and Queen of the Winds.

To decorate the corners of Charles LeBrun's never-completed garden at Versailles, the Parterre d'Eau, Louis XIV commissioned four monumental marble groups representing mythological abductions, each featuring three figures and symbolizing one of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. This bronze, with Boreas as a personification of the North Wind representing Air, is based on Marsy's preparatory model for one of these statues. Since the garden was never built as planned, Louis XIV commissioned bronze reductions, or smaller scale copies, of Marsy's work and François Girardon's statue to form a pair for his Salon Ovale in the palace of Versailles. The Getty Museum's collection includes two casts of both of these works, in two different sizes.

L'Art Francais (1888)
  • Paris (France : Généralité), 1888
Taking Shape: Finding Sculpture in the Decorative Arts (October 2, 2008 to July 5, 2009)
  • Henry Moore Institute (Leeds), October 2, 2008 to January 4, 2009
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009
Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution (October 24, 2008 to September 27, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 30 to September 27, 2009
Louis XIV at the Getty (June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016