Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680).

Ratto di Proserpina / Rape of Proserpina. 1622.

(Bernini was only 23 years old!)

Galleria Borghese. Roma. Italia.

Proserpina is the daughter of Ceres and Jupiter, She was worshipped as goddess of fertility and was said to be responsible for the change of seasons.

After Pluto (Hades) had been hit by one of Cupids arrows, he fell in love with Proserpina and abducted her to the underworld in order to marry her. Worried, her mother wandered the earth, searching for her lost daughter, turning the farmlands into desert wherever she went. Jupiter, knowing where Proserpina could be found, ordered Pluto to free his daughter. Pluto agreed but tricked Proserpina into eating six pomegranate seeds from the underworld, knowing this would make a permanent return to the world of the living impossible. Ever since, Proserpina has to return to the underworld for six months every year, initiating the cold season. Whenever she returns in the arms of her mother, spring commences.