Inventory number
P00482
Author
Veronese, Paolo
Title
Venus and Adonis
Chronology
Ca. 1580
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
162 cm x 191 cm
School
Italian
Theme
Mythology
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “paso de tribuna y trascuartos”, 1772, nº 1078; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara”, 1794, nº 1078; Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara”, 1814-1818, s.n.)

Venus fans Adonis, who rests on her knees, while she watches Cupid embrace a dog. This work was conceived as a pair to Cephalus and Procris (Musee des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg), and both illustrate passages from Ovid's Metamorphosis. The present work is drawn from Book X, which is dedicated to love truncated by the sudden and fortuitous death of one of the lovers.

The painting depicts the lovers' last moment of happiness before Adonis dies, gored by a wild boar. Veronese opted to portray the psychology of love, visible in the shadowed face of Venus, who knew what her beloved's fate would be. The artist may have been in Rome shortly before he painted this work. The figure of Cupid is inspired by the Hellenistic sculpture Boy with a Goose, and the Adonis by the Endymion on a sepulcher at the Roman Basilica of Saint John of Letran.

 

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