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The story of Danaë is told in Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses' (IV, 697–698). Her father, Acrisius, King of Argos, fearful of his prophesied death at the hands of a future grandson, imprisoned Danaë in a bronze tower to keep her suitors away. Jupiter, however, visited her in a shower of golden rain, and the outcome of their union was the hero Perseus, who did indeed kill his grandfather, albeit accidentally, with a discus. Here the princess is shown reclining on cushions in an interior pervaded by the golden light of Jupiter. The composition recurs in a Boucher drawing (last recorded in the Rodrigues sale, Paris, 28 November 1928), and in a miniature by Charlier (M139) in The Wallace Collection, which suggests that all three works derive from a lost original by Boucher.

The Wallace Collection







oil on canvas laid down on panel


H 19.3 x W 22 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

probably acquired by Sir Richard Wallace, c.1872–1874; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type



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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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