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How to Read Paintings: Danaë by Orazio Gentileschi

How this painting treads a fine line between eroticism and chastity

Danaë and the Shower of Gold (1621–1623) by Orazio Gentileschi. Oil on canvas. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Image source J. Paul Getty Museum (open access)

Works of art sometimes have an extraordinary ability to be many things at once. This painting, of the mythological figure Danaë, is replete with sensual allusions whilst at the same time representing the virtues of chastity. In this apparent contradiction, several…

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