Taken from Virgil's epic poem The Aeneid, the subject of this painting depicts the famous event which precipitated the Trojan War. Paris had travelled to Sparta in search of Helen, the most beautiful woman in the ancient world, who had been promised to him by Venus because he had chosen her as the fairest of the goddesses. Hosted by the unsuspecting king Menelaus, the prince abducts his wife while Menelaus is called away to Crete. Enraged, Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon later incite all the Greek princes to declare war on Troy. In this scene, Helen is being forcibly carried onto a ship by Paris while his companions struggle to keep the Greek soldiers at bay.
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