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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Frame by Frame

The ecstasy and terror of Titian’s ‘Europa’

Its subject is nothing less than the beginnings of civilization. It’s by the greatest painter of the 16th century – some would say of all time. And it’s the greatest painting in Boston, if not in all of America.

Titian’s “Europa” — or “The Rape of Europa,” as it’s less hygienically but more commonly known — shows Jupiter, in the guise of a beautiful bull, plowing through the waves of the Mediterranean Sea toward Crete, with the virgin princess Europa on his back.

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