Jupiter and a Nude

Paolo Veronese (Paolo Caliari) (Italian (Venetian), 1528–1588)


27.0 x 101 cm (10 5/8 x 39 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Italian Renaissance Gallery (Gallery 206)





Jupiter—king of the gods, accompanied here by his symbolic eagle—had a number of loves, many of them easily identified. However, the identity of this female nude is uncertain because she lacks any attributes. She may represent Dione, who, according to Homer’s Iliad, was the mother of Venus by Jupiter. The classical buildings depicted here are completely “up to date” for Veronese’s time, reflecting the work of his influential contemporary, the architect Andrea Palladio.


Until 1657, Giovanni Batta Raggi (b. 1613 - d. 1657), Genoa [see note 1]; 1658, by inheritance to his brother, Cardinal Lorenzo Raggi (b. 1615 - d. 1687), Rome [see note 2]; until at least 1780, probably by descent within the family, to Giulio Raggi, Genoa [see note 3]; 1818, possibly still at the Raggi palace, Genoa [see note 4]. By 1930, Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (b. 1878 - d. 1955), Rome; May 26, 1930, sold by Contini Bonacossi to Mrs.Edward Jackson Holmes (Mary Stacy Beaman) (b. 1875), Boston; 1960, gift of Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 11, 1960)

[1] This is one of five paintings by Veronese, depicting scenes from Roman mythology, that are recorded in Raggi's posthumous inventory of November 4, 1658 (see Piero Boccardo, ed., "L'Età di Rubens," exh. cat. Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, March 20 - July 11, 2004, pp. 325-26, nos. 51-55 and p. 372, cat. nos. 94a-c). Of these, four are at the MFA (accession nos. 59.260, 60.125, 64.2078, 64.2079) and the fifth, showing the Rape of Europa, is in the Rasini collection, Milan. [2] The paintings are also included in a list, dated November 6, 1658, of works of art to be sent to Raggi's brother in Rome; see Boccardo, ed., 2004 (as above, n. 1), p. 326 ("Cinque bislonghi di Paolo [Veronese]"). [3] After the death of Lorenzo, one painting by Veronese probably remained in Rome, with his cousin Sigismondo, although it is not known which; Sigismondo lent a bislungo, or painting of elongated format, to San Salvatore in Lauro in 1701 and 1710. The others were sent back to Genoa and are recorded in 1780 at the palace of Giulio Raggi, trisnipote (probably a great-grandson or -nephew) of Giovanni Batta. They are described simply as "diverse fregi con piccole figure di Paolo da Verona" (different friezes [i.e., paintings of a long format] with little figures by Paolo Veronese). [4] In 1818, three of the five paintings - the Rape of Europa and two that are not specified by subject - were recorded at the palace by an anonymous author ("Descrizione della città di Genova da un anonimo del 1818," p. 303).

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Edward Jackson Holmes