The Judgement of Paris

by: DoloresVolpe

This is the museums newest acquisition. We see a young man looking upwards at a man wearing a hat with wings on it who is about to hand a golden apple with the inscription to the fairest to the young man.
There is a staff by the side of the younger man and along side of him stand three woman. The woman closest to him is nude and a cherub is attempting to cover her nakedness. The woman to the right of her is bending to pick up her shield , while the third woman looks out at us as
if to challenge us.

This mythical scene is called THE JUDGEMENT OF PARIS, painted about 1700 by Lodovicio David. This is the story of a contest. The God Mercury has challenged Paris, a shepherd boy to choose the fairest of the three goddesses. He than can ask to marry anyone he chooses. Having just
chosen Venus as the most beautiful {it is cupid her son who is protecting her modesty) Minerva the goddess of victory in war seems anxious to leave, {Paris having given up victory in battle) while Juno Goddess of wealth and wisdom looks out at us as if to say this must be a fool to have given up all I could have given him.
It was Paris who set off The Trojan War having picked Helen of Troy as his bride which led to the founding of Rome.

David's painting displays his sense of humor, Cupids protecting his mothers modesty, Minerva, can't wait to go off to the battle to come., while Juno looks out at the patron of the picture offering him her powers.

The problem of moral choice was popular during the Renaissance. Who would you have chosen? Beauty, power or wealth and wisdom.?

David's painting anticipates the age of the Rococo and of Romanticism when artists used their imagination and what we call the free will of genius.