Abduction and Marriage

Rubens’s Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus confronts the viewer with an interpretative dilemna. The composition illustrates the story recounted by Theocritus and Ovid of how the twin brothers Castor and Pollux (called the Dioscuri) forcibly abducted and later married the daughters of King Leucippus. Rubens’s depiction of the abduction is marked by some striking ambiguities: an equivocation between violence and solicitude in the demeanor of the brothers, and an equivocation between resistance and gratification in the response of the sisters. The energized ebullience and sensual appeal of the group work to override our darker thoughts about the coercive nature of the abduction.

I’ve decided to take this painting and place it in another ambiguous and disconnected space, distorting much of the narrative and for lack of a better cliché, recontextualizing. At this late stage it still needs some tweeking and resolution of various passages.

Tom Bennett

Daughters, 1st stage, oil on panel, 18" x 24"

Sisters, oil on panel, 24″ x 30″


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