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Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, was chosen by Zeus to award the golden apple to the goddess he considered the most beautiful. He had to choose between Juno, queen of the gods, Minerva, goddess of wisdom, and Venus, goddess of love. He chose the latter when she promised him the love of the most beautiful woman on earth. The Judgment of Paris was a popular theme with seventeenth and eighteenth-century artists. Rubens in particular painted six known paintings on the theme and Van Dyck’s picture can be seen as a conscious challenge to his older colleague’s work. His treatment is deliberately unusual, eliminating the figures of the three naked goddesses in order to concentrate upon the central psychological drama of Paris’s fateful decision.

The Wallace Collection







oil on canvas


H 96 x W 84 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, 1816; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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