Louis Ardisson (French, 18481930)
The Abduction of Europa, 1879
Carved wood relief, 20 5/16 x 16 1/16 in.
Signed lower right: L. ARDISSON / PARIS / 1879

The Abduction of Europa is an exquisitely carved wooden bas-relief in the Rococo style. Ardisson is known for sculptural works like this, which he adapted from 18th-century paintings by artists like François Boucher (1703–1770) and Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806), usually depicting amorous mythological scenes. The Abduction of Europa depicts the mythological story of Zeus’s seduction of the beautiful Phoenician woman Europa by disguising himself as a white bull, and is based on a 1750 painting of The Rape of Europa (1750, Dallas Museum of Art) created by French artist Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (1714–1789).