Italian School, c. 1660
Sleeping Venus with Cupid
Oil on canvas
75 x 130 cm
This “Sleeping Venus” has not yet been assigned an author. The motif, with the goddess here depicted life-sized in an elongated landscape format, derives from the works of 16th century Venetian artists such as Giorgone and Titian. Paris Bordone also painted this motif, and the present work was formerly attributed to him. Pietro Liberi and Antonio Bellucci later picked up the subject again in the 17th century, and the vivid palette and delicate contours of the present work allow it to be placed in the circle of these Venetian artists. More on the Sleeping Venus
Venus and Love/ Venus and Cupid. Different tales exist about the origin of Venus and Cupid. Some say that Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, had a love affair with Mars, the god of war. Out of this relationship, Cupid was born.
Cupid has attributes from both of his parents. Like his mother he is considered to be the god of love, or more precisely, the god of falling in love. He is portrayed as an innocent little child with bow and arrows. He shoots arrows to the heart, and awakening a love that you’re powerless to resist.
Venus and Cupid are often shown in intimate poses, reflecting the unique love between mother and child. More Venus and Love
Italian School, 16th Century. The first two decades of the 16th century witnessed the harmonious balance and elevated conception of High Renaissance style, perfected in Florence and Rome by Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo. It brought together a seamless blend of form and meaning. In Venice, Bellini, Giorgione, and Titian devoted themselves to an art that was more sensual, with luminous color and a tactile handling of paint, preoccupations that would attract Venetian artists for generations, including Tintoretto and Veronese later in the century.
In the 1520s, Florence and Rome, but not Venice, saw a stylistic shift following the social and political upheaval ensuing from the disastrous Sack of Rome. Mannerism, as practiced by Bronzino, Pontormo, and Rosso, was a self-consciously elegant style that traded naturalism for artifice, employing unnaturally compressed space, elongated figures, and acid color. While mannerism became popular internationally, and lingered in northern Europe, by around 1580 it had fallen out of favor in Italy. One factor was the desire of the Church, challenged by the Protestant Revolution, to connect with the faithful. In place of mannerism’s ingenuous complications and artificiality, the Counter-Reformation Church required painting that was direct and emotionally resonant. The “reform of painting,” as it was called, was launched by two brothers and a cousin in Bologna: Annibale, Agostino, and Lodovico Carracci. They established an academy that emphasized drawing from life and looked to inspiration from Titian and other Renaissance masters, restoring the naturalism and classical balance of the early 16th century. More Italian School, 16th Century
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