A Greek Myth, a Continent, and a Political Concept.











The myth of Europe and the bull has been and remains a subject which has been depicted in all artforms and by all artschools of the European arthistory over a period of almost three millennia. A stone reliëf from the 6th cent.BC shows Europe sitting frozen like a goddess on the back of the bull. In the Roman period Europe half or completely naked sits loosely or floats along side of the bull. In the Middle Ages Europe is a modestly dressed virgin. The Renaissance shows a crying Europe thrown backwards on the bull’s back by Titian. The Baroque has Europe sitting on a lying bull, like on a throne, majestically dressed. In the Romantic period the surrounding scenery seems to become more important than the Europe-image. The Europe emblem is rendered by impressionists, expressionists, cubists, Cobra-group, the surrealist Salvador Dali, Picasso, the fauvist Henri Matisse, ...

The geographical representation of the Europe emblem can be found in the first atlas of Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of the 16th century on the Europe map picturing Europe on the bull.The ceilingfresco (1750-‘53)of the stairhall of the palace of the prince-bishop of Würzburg by Tiepolo shows the four parts of the world. The continent Europe is represented by Europe accompanied by the bull in the midst of religious, artistic and scientific figures. Recently, Timm Ulrichs made a photomontage of a bull with on his skin a map of Europe.

The political content of the Europe emblem grows more important over the years. The bronze Europe emblem on the doors of the St.Peter in Rome could be interpreted as a papal ambition for European domination. In 1508 Jacopo Palma painted the lion of Venice opposing Europe with helmet and shield riding the bull. It memorized the start of the eight year war of  Europe united inthe Leaque of Cambrai against the agression of Venice. Cartoons with the emblem as subject came up in the 20th century, such as the many political interpretations of the European emblem in relation to the European Union.

If you know artists rendering Europe's emblem not mentioned in my book, plse let me know.