Joseph Mallord William Turner The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides exhibited 1806

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Artwork details

Title
The Goddess of Discord Choosing the Apple of Contention in the Garden of the Hesperides
Date Exhibited 1806
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1553 x 2184 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N00477

Display caption

The Hesperides were the three daughters of Hesperus, the evening star. They tended a tree of golden apples on the slopes of Mount Atlas. Here, the goddess Discord picks one, setting in train the events leading to the Trojan war. The apple was subsequently awarded to the goddess Aphrodite by Paris, after she had promised him the most beautiful woman in the world: the Greek Queen, Helen, wife of Menelaus, whom Paris then abducted. It seems Turner may have been alluding to recent in-fighting at the Royal Academy in his choice of subject.

February 2010

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