The Rape of Ganymede is Mazza's best-known painting, and depicts the legendary account of an eagle (either the Aetos Dios or a manifestation of Zeus himself) kidnapping the handsome Ganymede and taking him to Mount Olympus to serve as both Zeus' lover and as cupbearer to the gods.
Some legends speak of Zeus' eagle kidnapping Ganymede:
"Ganymede was a beautiful Trojan prince who caught the eye of Zeus. Zeus sent His eagle down to bring Ganymede to Olympus to be His cup-bearer." - an excerpt from the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and PanWhile other accounts speak of the eagle actually being Zeus himself, transformed into the eagle to carry out this task:
"Ganymede, a handsome boy, excited the passion of Zeus who, in the guise of an eagle, bore him away to Mount Olympus." - an excerpt from "The Encyclopedia of Mythology" by Arthur Cotterell.
The painting originally adorned the ceiling for a distinguished lawyer in Mazza's home city of Padua. The exact date of the painting is not known, but Mazza was an "active" painter between 1573 and 1590 and so the painting's date will be somewhere in the late 16th century. Its original size is 177cm x 186.6 cm (69.7in x 73.5in) and was painted on canvas using oils. The painting now hangs in the National Gallery, London.
In the late 17th century the "Rape of Ganymede" was regarded as Titian.