Paris by Damià Campeny

  • Description

  • Work's History

Damià Campeny’s Paris, characterised as a shepherd with the typical Phrygian cap, leans against a tree trunk that serves to reinforce the sculpture. His forearm is slightly raised and in his hand he holds an apple. He is naked but for a lambskin wrapped around his waist.

«Hermes, take this apple, go to Phrygia and find Priam's son, who is a herdsman in Gàrgar, in the Ida massif and tell him the following: "Paris, as you are good and learned in questions of love, Zeus orders you to be a judge and that you decide which of these goddesses is the most beautiful; as a prize for the response, the winner may keep the apple".» Llucià, Diàlegs

If it is true that the set of sculptures of which this one forms part, along with Hymen, Love or Conjugal Fidelity and Diana the Huntress, were intended to commemorate the double royal wedding held in Barcelona in 1802, the presence of Paris would allude to the beauty of the brides, Maria Antonia of Naples and Maria Isabel de Bourbon.

In the Gilded Hall, on the first floor of the Llotja, there are four sculptures of Italian marble that form a set: Hymen, Love or Conjugal Fidelity, Diana the Huntress and Paris. Damià Campeny worked on them in Rome, possibly between the years 1802 and 1814, and sent them to Barcelona in 1815 once the Napoleonic Wars had finished. The reason why Campeny created the sculptures is uncertain. From their matrimonial symbolism – Hymen would represent love; Conjugal Fidelity, faithfulness; Diana the Huntress, fertility; and Paris, beauty – it would seem that they were made to commemorate the double royal wedding that took place in Barcelona in 1802. However, some sources suggest that it was an initiative of the artist himself.

The four marbles remained wrapped up, just as they had arrived from Italy, until June 1825, when the Board of Trade presented them in an exhibition held in the Llotja.

According to the myth, Paris was the son of Priam and Hecuba, the King and Queen of Troy. Shortly before giving birth, Hecuba dreamed that she would deliver a burning torch, and a prophet predicted that the unborn son would cause the destruction of Troy. Priam ordered the child to be killed, but he was not obeyed. Instead, the boy was abandoned on Mount Ida, where some Phrygian shepherds rescued him and brought him up. Years later, Paris presented himself before his parents, who recognised him and welcomed him as a prince.

During the wedding banquet of Peleus and Thetis, Eris, the goddess of discord, offended at not being invited, threw onto the gods’ table a golden apple with the inscription “to the fairest one.” The goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all claimed the prize, and Zeus ordered Hermes to give the apple to the mortal Paris to choose the fairest of the three. They all tried to coax Paris with bribes: Hera promised him sovereignty over all of Asia; Athena, wisdom and victory in combat; and Aphrodite, the love of Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chose Helen and carried her back to Troy, thus setting off the fateful Trojan War and fulfilling Hecuba’s terrible premonition.


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Author's works
at the Llotja de Mar

  • Lucretia

    Damia Campeny 
  • Diana the Huntress

    Damia Campeny 
  • Janua caeli

    Damia Campeny 
  • Mastiff

    Damia Campeny