Thursday, October 26, 2017

Venus Imagined in Europe before 1600

Marine Venus surrounded by Gods
ca. 1510-30
British Museum

Sebald Beham
Judgement of Paris, Venus in foreground addressing Paris
ca. 1518-30
British Museum

Dirk Jacobsz Vellert
Marine Venus on shell-boat with diminutive Cupid in clouds
etching, engraving
British Museum


Ravished by all that to the eyes is fair,
Yet hungry for the joys that truly bless,
My soul can find no stair
To mount to heaven, save earth's loveliness.
For from the stars above
Descends a glorious light
That lifts our longing to their highest height
And bears the name of love.
Nor is there aught can move
A gentle heart, or purge or make it wise,
But beauty and the starlight of her eyes.

 Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), translated by George Santayana (1863-1952)

Daniel Hopfer
Winged Venus surrounded by demons, Devil behind her, Cupid playing lute
before 1536
British Museum

Jean Mignon after Luca Penni
Mars and Venus embracing
ca. 1543-45
British Museum

Léon Davent
Venus discovering Mars disarmed and asleep
ca. 1545-50
British Museum

Léon Davent after Luca Penni
Cupid and attendants serving banquet to Mars and Venus
ca. 1545-50
British Museum

attributed to Hans Ladenspelder
Mars and Venus, with her foot on the snout of a boar
before 1561
British Museum

Silent the Forests

Silent the forests, the streams,
Waveless-sheeted the sea,
Winds in their caves unblustering, at peace,
Somber the night, and white
Its moon of deepest and marmoreal quiet:
Let us too lie like secrets
Locked in love and its sweetness 
Love have no breath, no voice,
No sound a kiss, no voice or sound my sighs!

 Torquato Tasso (1544-1595), translated by Edwin Morgan (1920-2010)

Giulio Bonasone
Adonis caressing Venus
before 1576
British Museum

Abraham de Bruyn
Ornamental print with Cupid overpowering Satyr, while Venus and companion look on
ca. 1580-1600
British Museum

follower of Luca Cambiaso
Standing Venus with Doves
before 1585
British Museum

Agostino Carracci
Marine Venus supported by Dolphins and attended by Cupids
ca. 1585-1600
British Museum

Marco Angolo del Moro
Mars and Venus
before 1586
British Museum

Hendrik Goltzius
Venus, Cupid, Bacchus and Ceres
British Museum