Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus is an oil painting by Peter Paul Rubens, a German Flemish Baroque painter, during about 1615 to 1618. He is well known for his history paintings of mythological subjects, portraits and landscapes. The painting originated from Greek mythology that the twin brothers Castor and Polydeuces abducted and later married Phoebe and Hilaeira, daughters of king Leucippus.
Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus vividly depicts the scene of the abduction. The two young girls were abducted in their wedding party. The grooms fought with the robbers and stabbed Castor to death. Later Castor was brought back to life by his father Zeus. In this baroque painting, Ruben just showed the moment the abduction happened, without draw out the whole plot. Warriors is seizing the two naked maidens and trying to take them away on horseback. Phoebe and Hilaeira are extremely frightened. They struggled fiercely against the touch by the men.
Contrary to the dynamic state of human characters and horses, the background is calm and peaceful. Rubens used static background environment to further highlight the intense motion. The white forms of the nude victims also make a contrast to the tanned, strong rapists. In the painting, there are two divergent diagonals, one is formed by the head of brown horse, twin brothers and the woman; the other separates the bodies of Phoebe and Hilaeira. The contrast and use of diagonals in the painting lead to a new kind of painting style, and completely reconcile Baroque and Rubens’s feature.