Friday, October 27, 2017

Venus in the Age of Progress

Sir James Thornhill
Venus and Adonis
(design for staircase wall at Charborough Park)

British Museum

With head-gear glittering against the cloud and sun, 
The lords go forth from the court, and into far borders.
They ride upon dragon-like horses,
Upon horses with head-trappings of yellow-metal,
And the streets make way for their passage.
                       Haughty their passing,
Haughty their steps as they go into great banquets,
To high halls and curious food,
To the perfumed air and girls dancing,
To clear flutes and clear singing;
To the dance of the seventy-couples;
To the mad chase through the gardens.
Night and day are given over to pleasure
And they think it will last a thousand autumns,
                       Unwearying autumns.
For them the yellow dogs howl portents in vain . . . 

 from Poem by the Bridge at Ten-Shin by Li Po (AD 701-762), a translation by Ezra Pound – who names the Chinese poet 'Rihaku'  first published in Cathay (1915)

Bernard Picart
Midday personified as Venus and Cupid
(after statue-group at Versailles by Gaspard Marsy)

before 1733
etching, engraving
British Museum

Bowles & Carver (London printmakers)
Judgement of Paris
(Venus and Cupid in foreground, Juno and Athena behind)

ca. 1766-84
hand-colored etching
British Museum

Stefano Mulinari after drawing by Pietro da Cortona
after painting by Baldassare Peruzzi
Venus Anadyomene 
ca. 1760-90
British Museum

Angelica Kauffmann
Death of Adonis with Venus lamenting
ca. 1770-1810
British Museum

Angelica Kauffmann
Venus lamenting dead Adonis
etching, aquatint
British Museum

James Barry
Birth of Venus with Sea-god supporting shell, reverenced by Water-spirits
(illustration for Paradise Lost)
etching, aquatint
British Museum

Angelo Campanella after drawing by Anton Raphael Mengs
Venus mural in Villa Negroni, Rome, excavated in 1777
hand-colored engraving
British Museum

And the water a hundred feet deep reflecting green eyebrows
– Eyebrows painted green are a fine sight in young moonlight,
Gracefully painted 
And the girls singing back to each other,
Dancing in transparent brocade,
And the wind lifting the song, and interrupting it,
Tossing it up under the clouds.
                       And all this comes to an end. 
                       And is not again to be met with.

 from Exile's Letter by Li Po (AD 701-762), a translation by Ezra Pound – who names the Chinese poet 'Rihaku'  first published in Cathay (1915)

John Clarke
Venus disarming Cupid
etching printed in sanguine
British Museum

Maria Cosway after Richard Cosway
Birth of Venus, with Neptune supporting shell
ca. 1780-1800
British Museum

Edward Edwards
Diana and Venus
ca. 1784-1790
British Museum

Jean-François Janinet after François Boucher
Toilet of Venus
color aquatint and etching
British Museum

Richard Westall
The Boar that killed Adonis brought before Venus
drawing, watercolor (print-study)
British Museum

Bartolomeo Pinelli
Venus flying over Idalium holding sleeping Cupid in the guise of Ascanius,
followed by Cupid again, with finger to lips enjoining silence
(illustration for The Aeneid)

ca. 1811
British Museum