European Art
Artist: Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, 1577–1640

Hero and Leander

ca. 1604

Oil on canvas

95.9 x 128 cm (37 3/4 x 50 3/8 in.), framed 131.1 x 163.2 x 6.7 cm (51 5/8 x 64 1/4 x 2 5/8 in.)
Gift of Susan Morse Hilles
1962.25
This painting illustrates the ancient Greek legend of Leander, who swam the Hellespont for midnight meetings with his beloved Hero, custodian of the doves and sparrows of Aphrodite. On a fatal stormy night, he perished in the waves, and the despairing Hero cast herself into the sea to join him in death. The picture is an important example of Rubens’s early work in Italy, where he developed his interest in classical and mythological subject matter.
Culture: 
Flemish
Period: 
17th century
Classification: 
Paintings
Status: 
On view
Bibliography: 

Artists on Art: Observations by Yale Faculty on Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1999), 62–65, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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