01 Paintings, Olympian deities, Prague School’s Venus, Bacchus and Cupid, with footnotes # 43

Prague School, early 17th century followers of Hans von Aachen
Venus, Bacchus and Cupid

Oil on canvas
h: 67 w: 57.50 cm
Private collection

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

Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Alcohol, especially wine, played an important role in Greek culture with Dionysus being an important reason for this life style. His name shows that he may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother.

Also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces, bakkheia. His wand is sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey. It is a beneficent wand but also a weapon, and can be used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. More on Bacchus

Hans von Aachen (1552 – 4 March 1615) was a German painter who was one of the leading representatives of Northern Mannerism.

Hans von Aachen was a versatile and productive artist who worked in many genres. He was successful as a painter of princely and aristocratic portraits, and further painted religious, mythological and allegorical subjects. Known for his skill in the depiction of nudes, his eroticized mythological scenes were particularly enjoyed by his principal patron, Emperor Rudolf II. These remain the works for which he is best known. He also painted a number of genre paintings of small groups of figures shown from the chest upwards.

The life and work of Hans von Aachen bear unique witness to the cultural transfer between North, South and Central Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. After training in the tradition of Netherlandish Renaissance painting he moved to Italy in 1574, for about 14 years, mainly working in Venice. He returned in 1587 to his native Germany. His final years were spent in Prague. The combination of the Netherlandish realism of his training and the Italian influences gained during his travels gave rise to his unique painting style. More on Hans von Aachen


Please visit my other blogs: Art CollectorMythologyMarine ArtPortrait of a Lady, The OrientalistArt of the Nude and The Canals of VeniceMiddle East Artists365 Saints and 365 Days, also visit my Boards on Pinterest

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Author: zaidangallery

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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