The Origin of the Milky Way (Rubens)
|The Origin of the Milky Way|
|Artist||Peter Paul Rubens|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||181 cm × 244 cm (71 in × 96 in)|
|Location||Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain|
The Origin of the Milky Way, or The Birth of the Milky Way, is a painting by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens, featuring the Greco-Roman myth of the origin of the Milky Way. The painting depicts Hera (Juno), spilling her breast milk, the infant Heracles (Hercules) and Zeus (Jupiter) in the background, identifiable by his eagle and lightning bolts. Hera's face is modelled on Rubens' wife, Hélène Fourment. The carriage is pulled by Hera's favourite animals, peacocks. Due to the dark background of the night sky the figures gain a greater sense of volume.
The image was a part of the commission from Philip IV of Spain to decorate Torre de la Parada. Rubens also painted other Greco-Roman mythological subjects, such as Hercules Fighting the Nemean Lion or Perseus Freeing Andromeda.