Rape of Proserpine by Pluto / L'enlèvement de Proserpine par Pluton
Château de Versailles / Chateau de Versailles / Bosquet de la Colonnade / The Colonnade
Sculptor: Francois Girarudon
François Girardon's L'enlèvement de Proserpine par Pluton (Rape of Proserpine by Pluto) in Le Colonnade in the Gardens
Au centre, le groupe sculpte represente l' enlevement de Proserpine par Pluton, sculpte par Girardon ( 1677-1699 )
The statue of the rape of Proserpina depicts the moment of her abduction by Pluto, god of the underworld. Francois Giraudon was the most eminent sculptor in 17th century France and the dominant sculptor for the gardens of the palace of Versailles under Louis XIV. His sculpture of Proserpina achieved great acclaim and was considered to be his masterpiece.
In Greek mythology, Persephone (Kore or Cora) was the embodiment of the Earth's fertility at the same time that she was the Queen of the Underworld, the korē (or young maiden), and the parthenogenic daughter of Demeter—and, in later Classical myths, a daughter of Demeter and Zeus. In the Olympian version she also becomes the consort of Hades when he becomes the deity that governs the underworld.
François Girardon's L'enlèvement de Proserpine par Pluton (Rape of Proserpine by Pluto), executed from 1677-1699, stands in the center, on a pedestal decorated with a bas-relief illustrating the mythological story. The story of Pluto and Prosperine, or Persephone, recounts how Pluto, god of the dead, parted the earth while Prosperine, daughter of Jupiter and Ceres, was picking flowers and abducted her. He had fallen in love with her after being shot with one of Cupid's arrows. Ceres searched the land for her daughter, but couldn't find her. Being the goddess of the earth, she refused to allow anything to grow. Jupiter, or Zeus, worried that mankind would starve persuaded Pluto to let Prosperine go. But before he did, he made her eat the seed of a pomegranate, which would not let her stay away from him forever. It was arranged that she would spend part of the year with her mother amongst the heavenly gods (either half a year or two-thirds, depending on the telling), and pass the rest with Pluto beneath the earth. It is said that when Prosperine is united with her mother, spring comes, and when she returns to Pluto, winter arrives. As wife of Pluto, she sent spectres, ruled the ghosts, and carried into effect the curses of men.