Venus Disarming Cupid. A window in the life and times of Jacopo Amigoni. Table of Contents. Life and History of Jacopo Amigoni Ownership and Patronage Friendship of Amigoni and Farinelli Political Context Natural vs. Achieved Social Context Cultural Context Genre: History painting
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window in the life and times
of Jacopo Amigoni
Portrait de Louis XIV 1701
After the death of Louis XIV, art shifts to salons and wealthy homes (upper class)
Wealthy wish to concentrate more upon pleasures than responsibility
Rebel against the rigidity and darkness of earlier baroque
Exchange of moral obligation and serious events for fantasy and carefree atmosphere
Art Demonstrated optimism due to advances and belief in social progression
The Fountain of Love
This leads to a direct engagement of the viewer.
The Return of the Prodigal Son
*This piece by Pelligrini is thought to have been a direct reference to “Venus Chastising Cupid” because of the similar positions and style theme in both paintings.
Venus and Cupid
Giovani Antoni Pellegrini
Vulcan Handing Venus the Weapons for Aeneas
This contrasts the original painting of Cupid being disciplined by Venus because Mars would be a much harsher disciplinarian. He does not represent the femininity, love, and lightheartedness of Venus.
An Artistic Contrast:: Cupid Chastised by Mars
JACOPO AMIGONIItalian, Venice (active throughout Europe), 1682/85 - 1752Venus Disarming Cupidoil on canvas, 1730s or 1740sAckland Fund 86.47
Ackland Art Museum
Chapel Hill, NC
The incident in myth that Amigoni depicts occurs in Book X of Ovid. Venus accidentally falls in love with Adonis when one of Cupid’s arrows grazes her chest.
“…Once, when Venus’ son
Was kissing her, his quiver dangling down
A jutting arrow, unbeknown, had grazed
Her breast. She pushed the boy away.
In fact the wound was deeper than it seemed,
Though unperceived at first…”
Oil on canvas, 142 x 173 cmAlte Pinakothek, Munich
Venus’s love with Adonis fascinates many artists, so it is a fairly common subject. (Impelluso 240)
The beauty of a man, she cared no more
For her Cythera’s shores nor sought again
Her sea-girt Paphos nor her Cnidos, famed
For fish, nor her ore-laden Amathus.
She shunned heaven too: to heaven she preferred
Venus’s nakedness and splayed body suggest both vulnerability to the arrow and the idealization of feminine beauty and sensuality by male artists during the Rococo period. (Heleniak 641; Goodman 323; Goodman 325)
Cupid was the Roman god who caused people to fall in love with his arrows.
Artists commonly depict him as “a clever, somewhat impudent winged child”; occasionally punished for mischief (Impelluso 66).
Putti, or cherubs, are generally attendants of deities like Venus in European art of this period (Pierce 122). The winged children are derived from Christian angels (Whittlesey 62).
In Rococo paintings, they lend an air of levity with their playful antics, making the painting pleasurable to look at (Pierce 122).
In art, the forest, especially a clearing, is a sacred and secluded place of
unexplored femininity, nature, and regeneration (Battistini 244-245).
In art, spring and summer signify the rapture of love and marriage and fertility, respectively (Adler 793).
Forest, Spring, and Summer
White creates a sense of innocence in this painting of Venus and Cupid to balance the sensuality in the painting.
The bow alludes to the moderation of instinctual drives (Battistini 343). Here it is a toy for the putto in the clouds; Venus’s passion for Adonis will be unrestrained.
The arrows “allude to amorous glances that pierce the heart like darts” (Battistini 343).
Bow and Arrows
This presentation has covered:
~the life of Amigoni and his place in history
~the relationship between Farinelli and Amigoni
~the cultural, political, and social contexts of Venus Disarming Cupid
~the genre of history painting
~elements of Rococo style
~the iconography and subject matter of Venus Disarming Cupid