Venus and Cupid in Nude Artworks
The recreation of the figures of Venus and Cupid was one of the most prestigious moments in Renaissance painting. The classical iconography represented the recognition of Antiquity and the union with the culture of the Christian world of medieval tradition. The role of Venus in Renaissance painting has fostered a broad historiographical tradition from different theoretical perspectives.
Countless Renaissance painters have painted Cupid and Venus in every possible style. The mythological recreation of Sandro Botticelli, Tuscan painter of the Quattrocento, who through the moralizing vision of the figure of Venus, achieves a stylistic unity between the formal and the iconological. For his part, Tiziano Vecellio, a Venetian painter of the Cinquecento influenced by the stylistic confluence of northern Italy, adds a strong sensual component to the spiritual beauty of Venus. The courtly style
Titian will notably influence the aesthetics and symbolic interpretation of successive generations.
Since ancient times, among classical authors, two versions of Venus have been distinguished: the clothed Venus and the nude one. Naked or “heavenly” Venus rules in chaste love, as well as being linked with Truth; and the dressed or “vulgar”, is related to conjugal love. Renaissance Humanism recognizes in Venus a third type of love: Ferinus Love
Ferinus love is defined as irrational, manifested in the ancient relief that decorates the fountain in which a runaway horse and a flagellation are seen in the mythological work of Titian: “Sacred love, profane love“, 1514. In that work it is linked with the Neoplatonic theories of the time. Two women are represented before a landscape background, sitting on the edge of a fountain, while Cupid stirs the waters; the woman on the left is dressed and carries in her hands a golden vessel and a bouquet of roses, the one on the right is naked and carries a lighted oil lamp. What Titian intended in his painting is a reflection on the double nature of Venus, the heavenly and the earthly; the celestial one born directly from Uranus, is presented naked, while the earthly one, fruit of the love between Zeus and Hera, is dressed.
Titian : Sacred Love, Profane Love, 1514
Venus and Cupid 1520 Agnolo Bronzino
Among the Mannerists, Agnolo Bronzino was one of the most prominent portrait painters. Like his colleagues, he blended High Renaissance styles with early Baroque. Bronzino’s paintings are considered icy portraits because they create a gap between the sitter and the viewer, which is interpreted as cold.
Bronzino’s name was a nickname probably based on the preferred dark coloring of Agnolo’s paintings. Born in the town of Monticello, near Florence, Agnolo die Cosimo spent most of his life and his work in the dazzling metropolis of Florence, then one of the world’s leading art cities. Unlike other artists of the time, who took for granted that travel was a work process between artists, Bronzino rarely left the city and was closely tied to his home.
Agnolo Bronzino – Alegory Venus and Cupido
He apprenticed himself as an artist under one of the founders of Florentine mannerism, Jacopo Pontormo. In turn, he was an outstanding student of the greats of painting Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. These considerable influences are still evident in Bronzino’s works.
In 1522, the plague broke out in Florence. Bronzino moved to a nearby monastery. In his new place of rest he did not get tired of continuing to work despite the precarious circumstances. Together with his former teacher, he made a series of frescoes for the church.
As an honorary collaborator of the duke and under the patronage of the Tuscan duke Cosimo de’ Medici, he exerted a great influence on the Florentine art scene. Among the important paintings that he made for his patron are the portraits painted on the occasion of the duke’s wedding with Eleonora of Toledo. This earned Bronzino a reputation as a master in the field of elegant portraiture.
Angelo Bronzino – Venus, Cupid and Envy
A delicate coldness and an almost distant presence surround the painted figures of him. Although Bronzino’s style has been called academic art, it was not without creative and poetic elements. These aspects are well seen in his portrait of a Genoese admiral, whom Bronzino imagined as Neptune, the imposing god of the sea. Bronzino’s works continued to influence portrait painters across Europe centuries later.