Boreas Abducting Orithyia
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Gaspard Marsy
French, Tours, 1693 - 1710
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.

Detail Views

Orithyia's face

Boreas's face

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