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Europa and the Bull

Carl Milles

European Art

Ancient Greek mythology tells of how Zeus—the king of the gods—transformed into a bull to abduct the princess Europa. Here, she gently touches the bull’s tongue and rides high on his back. This appears to emphasize her empowerment in a story that, like so many ancient myths, has sexual violation at its core.

According to some ancient narratives, Europa’s father was from the eastern Mediterranean and her mother was Egyptian. Zeus carried Europa from Phoenicia (present-day Lebanon) west to Crete, where their son established the Minoan dynasty that became the foundation of all subsequent European civilizations north of the Mediterranean. The European continent was named after Europa, making her Middle Eastern and African roots, and her forced immigration, integral parts of Europe’s origin story.
MEDIUM Bronze
DATES 1923-1924
DIMENSIONS Other: 30 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. (77.5 x 32.4 x 67.9 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS European Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
EXHIBITIONS
ACCESSION NUMBER 33.288
CREDIT LINE Lydia Richardson Babbott Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT © artist or artist's estate
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CAPTION Carl Milles (Swedish, 1875-1955). Europa and the Bull, 1923-1924. Bronze, Other: 30 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. (77.5 x 32.4 x 67.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Lydia Richardson Babbott Fund, 33.288. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 33.288_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 33.288_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2016
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Carl Milles (Swedish, 1875-1955). <em>Europa and the Bull</em>, 1923-1924. Bronze, Other: 30 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. (77.5 x 32.4 x 67.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Lydia Richardson Babbott Fund, 33.288. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 33.288_PS11.jpg)