Ganymede and the Eagle


Bertel Thorwaldsen (about 1770–1844)


about 1830–1850




17 11/16 x 22 3/4 x 9 11/16 in. (45 x 57.8 x 24.6 cm)


A native of Denmark, Bertel Thorwaldsen was one of the best known and most admired neoclassicists. As a member of the expatriate community that formed in Rome during the first half of the nineteenth century, he also became a popular and admired teacher of drawing and modeling.

Ganymede and the Eagle was one of Thorwalsen’s most popular and recognizable subjects. Here Ganymede, the cupbearer to the gods, offers sustenance to his erstwhile lover Zeus who, for reasons of classical propriety, has taken the form of an eagle. Thorwaldsen brings the two figures together in a gracefully conceived composition that adheres to neoclassical ideals of simplicity and readability.

Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson for the Boston Athenæum.

Credit Line

Gift of Samuel Eliot Morison, 1956

Object Number