Boreas Abducting Orithyia

Object Details

Title:

Boreas Abducting Orithyia

Artist/Maker(s):

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

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

cast 1693 - 1710

Medium:

Bronze

Dimensions:

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

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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.

Exhibitions
L'Art Francais (1888)
  • Paris (France : Généralité), 1888, (Cat.)
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, (Cat. 5)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009, (Cat. 5)
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, (Cat. 69b)
Bibliography

"Principales acquisitions des musées en 1988." La Chronique des arts: supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 113, no. 1442 (March 1989), p. 35, no. 189, ill.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 33, ill.

Droth, Martina, and Penelope Curtis, eds. Taking Shape: Finding Sculpture in the Decorative Arts, exh. cat. (Leeds, Henry Moore Foundation; Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), pp. 26-34, no. 5, pp. 7, 13, p. 169 (entry by Katie Scott).