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Venus and Cupid

Accession Number
1998/2.17

Title
Venus and Cupid

Artist(s)
Hendrick Goltzius

Object Creation Date
circa 1596

Medium & Support
engraving on laid paper

Dimensions
13 1/4 in. x 9 15/16 in. ( 33.7 cm x 25.2 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Spring/Summer 2011
Hendrick Goltzius
The Netherlands, 1558–1617
Venus and Cupid
circa 1596
Engraving
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund, 1998/2.17
Goltzius was known as one of the premiere engravers in Europe and this depiction of Venus and Cupid shows the artist at the peak of his powers. Venus, the goddess of love, is seen reclining at an angle within the oval format of the image. Her left arm is draped around the figure of Cupid, whose arrow is about to pierce her chest near her heart. Notwithstanding the playful threat of Cupid’s arrow, the inscription at the bottom attests to Venus’s uncontested command over men: “Our immense power is observed throughout the world, and my fire has widespread potency. Neither any god or man escapes my arrows to which are attached feathered wings.”
Despite the overall patterning and density of lines, the focus is on Venus, who is monumental in stature and convincingly portrayed. The tapering lines are elegant and refined, as well crisp, sharp, and sculpturally compelling.

Subject matter
Goltzius was known as one of the premiere engravers in Europe and this depiction of Venus and Cupid shows the artist at the peak of his powers. Venus, the goddess of love, is seen reclining at an angle within the oval format of the image. Her left arm is draped around the figure of Cupid, whose arrow is about to pierce her chest near her heart. Notwithstanding the playful threat of Cupid’s arrow, the inscription at the bottom attests to Venus’s uncontested command over men: “Our immense power is observed throughout the world, and my fire has widespread potency. Neither any god or man escapes my arrows to which are attached feathered wings.”

Physical Description
This black and white print shows a nude woman and young boy with wings within an oval shape.The woman is lounging on a draped surface and has her arm around the boy. He is facing toward her and pushing an arrow against her left breast. Other smaller scenes surround these figures including, a woman in a chariot drawn by swans; a man and a woman conversing in a forest; two figures in a landscape scene and two birds nestled together. Outside the oval in the corners of the work are hearts, flaming arrows and roses . At the bottom is Latin lettering.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Additional Object Classification(s)
Print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
arrows
black-and-white prints (prints on paper)
figures (representations)
intaglio printing
nudes (representations)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved