The Origin of the Milky Way (Tintoretto)

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Origin of the Milky Way
Jacopo Tintoretto - The Origin of the Milky Way - Google Art Project.jpg
Yearca. 1575–1580
MediumOil on canvas
Dimensions148 cm × 165 cm (58 in × 65 in)
LocationNational Gallery, London

The Origin of the Milky Way is a painting by the Italian late Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto, in the National Gallery, London, formerly in the Orleans Collection. It is an oil painting on canvas, and dates from ca.1575–1580.

According to myth, the infant Heracles was brought to Hera by his half-sister Athena, who later played an important role as a goddess of protection. Hera nursed Heracles out of pity, but he suckled so strongly that he caused Hera pain, and she pushed him away. Her milk sprayed across the heavens and there formed the Milky Way. With divine milk, Heracles acquired supernatural powers.

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