Jupiter and Io  

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Jupiter and Io (c. 1530) is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance artist Correggio. It is housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, Austria.

The painting was created as a companion piece to the Ganymede Abducted by the Eagle, also in the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The two pictures, along with another pair, were probably intended to decorate the Ovid Room in the Palazzo Te for Federico II Gonzaga of Mantua; however, they were gifted to Emperor Charles V, and subsequently the cycle was dispersed outside Italy.

The scene of Jupiter and Io is inspired by Ovid's classic Metamorphoses. Io, is seduced by Jupiter, who hides behind the clouds to avoid hurting the jealous Juno.

The painting depicts Io from the back. Zeus, camouflaged within a blackish cloud of constantly changing forms and in which his face and hand can be seen, undergoes new metamorphoses to conceal their loving from indiscreet gazes, covering them "with mist to show that divine things are concealed in the human face," as Ovid puts it in his story. The phallic symbolism is most visible in the arm of Zeus, which protrudes in a cucumber-like shape from under the armpit of Io in an embrace of her waist. There’s something very provocative about the way the picture is put together, the sensuality of the cloud that billows around Io, like a caress that you yourself feel part of.

Noteworthy is the contrast between the evanescent figure of the immaterial Jupiter, and the sensual substance of Io's body, shown lost in an erotic rapture which anticipates the works of Bernini and Rubens.


Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans is said to have cut out the face of Io in Correggio's Jupiter and Io, which was later replaced by Prud'hon.

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