the rape of persephone painting
Others have remarked on the twisted contrapposto or figura serpentinata pose of the group. While reminiscent of Mannerism, particularly Giambologna’s The Rape of the Sabine Women, Bernini permits the viewer to absorb the scene from one single viewpoint. While other views provide further details, a spectator can see the desperation of Proserpina and the lumbering attempts of Pluto to grab her. This was in contrast to the Mannerist sculpture of Giambologna, which required the spectator to walk around the sculpture to gain a view of each of character’s expression.  
Most critics have been quick to praise the work. Rudolf Wittkower noted: “representations of such rape scenes depended on Bernini’s new, dynamic conception for the next hundred and fifty years”.  Howard Hibbard makes similar comments noting the realistic effects that Bernini had achieved via carving hard marble, such as the “texture of the skin, the flying ropes of hair, the tears of Persephone and above all the yielding flesh of the girl”.  The choice of incident to depict the story is commonly cited as well: Pluto’s hands encircle the waist of Proserpina just as she throws her arms out in an attempt to escape.  Bernini’s own son and biographer, Domenico, called it “an amazing contrast of tenderness and cruelty”. 
This painting on a large wooden panel is entitled The Abduction of Proserpine. It was painted in 1570, and spent most of its life residing in the Villa Salviati after being commissioned by the Salviati family. 
Created between 1636 – 1637, Peter Paul Rubens depicted the abduction of Persephone in a piece entitled The Rape of Proserpine. The piece was intended to decorate the lost Torre de la Parada, and as such was owned by the Spanish Royal family. 
Demeter begged Zeus to command the release of her daughter, and Persephone was told that she would be released from the underworld, as long as she didn’t consume any food while she was there. But when she thought no one was looking, Persephone went into the garden and ate six pomegranate seeds. She was thus doomed to spend six months of the year with Hades, while for the other six months she could return to Earth to see her mother. The myth holds that the months Persephone spends in the underworld leave the earth cold, dark, and wintry, but when she returns, spring and summer accompany her.
The Rape of Persephone
The Rape of Proserpina Painting
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The National Gallery has endeavoured to make as many images of the collection as possible available for non-commercial use. However, an image of this painting is not available to download. This may be due to third party copyright restrictions.
This scene corresponds to part of the ceiling decoration of the grand Galleria. On the right, Pluto, god of the underworld, is manhandling Proserpine into his chariot. Above them fly harpies, the cruel guardians of his realm. To the left of Pluto are the three infernal judges; high above are Dedalus and his son Icarus, who was punished for flying too close to the sun.