Landscape with Venus and Cupid Riding on a Cart

Accession Number

Landscape with Venus and Cupid Riding on a Cart

Giulio di Antonio Bonasone

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching and engraving on paper

10 ⅞ in x 16 in (27.62 cm x 40.64 cm);18 ⅛ in x 22 ⅛ in (46.04 cm x 56.2 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
Gallery Rotation Spring/Summer 2012
Giulio di Antonio Bonasone
Italy, active 1531–1574
Landscape with Venus and Cupid Riding on a Car
Etching and engraving
Museum purchase, 1960/2.130
The popularity of classical mythology reached its zenith during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, before the Catholic Church curtailed the use of pagan themes in the arts. Like many of his contemporaries, Bonasone turned to the ancient Roman poet Ovid (43 BC–17/18 AD), and his seminal text, Metamorphoses, for inspiration. Here he shows Venus (Aphrodite), the goddess of love and beauty, seated in a chariot pulled by swans, an attribute described in Ovid’s narration of her love affair with the beautiful mortal Adonis. In this story Venus warns her beloved against hunting the wild boar that will inevitably kill him; he does not pay heed and after departing in her chariot, she hears Adonis’s anguished, last cries. With this the goddess of love herself experiences the sorrow of loss.

Subject matter
Venus and Cupid, shown with her attributes of putti and her swan-drawn chariot or car were popular images in the 16th century.

Physical Description
Venus and Cupid are seen sitting in a chariot pulled by two swans that are embraced by two putti. Behind is a landscape with towns and houses.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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chariots (ancient vehicles)
engravings (prints)
etchings (prints)
intaglio printing
literary theory
natural landscapes

6 Related Resources

Greco-Roman Mythology
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
Greek Cultural Influence
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
History of Western Sexuality and Gender Roles
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Human-Animal Metamorphosis
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
all past MOVESCI objects
(Part of: All past MOVESCI objects)

& Author Notes

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