The Secrets of Venus and Cupid by Artemisia Genitleschi
Artemisia Gentileschi was the leading female artist of the 17th century. He established his work mainly in Rome, Florence and Naples. In 1616, she became the first female member of the prominent Florence Academy of Painting.
Venus and Cupid , also known as the Sleeping Venus, is a fantastic work of art created in 1626 by the Italian artist.
This extraordinary work shows a sleeping and naked Venus, reclining on a comfortable bed with a beautiful blue sheet. The color detail of the painting stands out very latently, as the bed is painted with a double layer of ultramarine blue, which was a very expensive lapis lazuli paint for artists of the time. This leads us to conjecture that the painting could have been done as a commission for a wealthy client from his environment.
The painting shows a baby Cupid, who is the son of Venus. This one fans the Goddess with peacock feathers, we suppose to keep flies and other pests away, doing it with special care.
A distant temple can also be seen on the left side of the painting through the window. Some critics estimate that the landscape scene at the window might have been added by a second artist later.
Marked by strong contrasts of light and dark as well as unusual and daring compositions, Artemisia Gentileschi's work was influenced by both her father's painting style and that of his famous associate, Caravaggio. The artist's subject matter often consists of powerful representations of women, for example Judith, Susanna, Cleopatra and Danäe, who are dramatically portrayed as heroines or victims.
Gentileschi revolved his paintings around themes of women who were known for their bravery, beauty, and simplicity. His paintings mainly consisted of nude women in which he displayed his style, which is dramatic realism.
Artemisia Gentileschi was an admirer of Caravaggio, as was her father, and this can be seen in this work, by the shape of the light around the body of Venus and the darkness in the rest of the scene. Caravaggio often displayed contrasts of light and dark in his paintings, and this technique was skilfully copied by the artists he influenced.
Gentileschi was also an extremely important figure in the art world. She was the first female painter to be a member of the Florence Academy of Design Art. Throughout her career Artemisia specialized in painting women and was particularly talented in detailing the anatomy and beauty of the female sex.
Initially the young art apprentice was educated in her father's own workshop, Orazio Gentileschi. When he himself wanted the artist to continue her progress, he asked his friend Agostino Tassi to teach him advanced techniques. However, Tassi sexually assaulted her and this unfairly tarnished the artist's reputation. This also caused Artemis to channel a large part of her anger towards Tassi in several of her artworks.
Artemisia eventually married the artist Pierantonio Stiattesi and they had a daughter named Prudentia, named after her grandmother. Artemisia taught Prudentia to paint, but her works are unknown.
Gentileschi was highly appreciated by Michelangelo Buonarroti the Younger, who was Michelangelo's nephew, and he asked Artemisia to paint on the ceiling of the house he was building for himself, as a tribute to his uncle for his work on the Chapel. Sistine. The artist then painted the Allegory of the Inclination, which shows a nude woman with a compass, somewhat resembling Artemisia herself.
In Venus and Cupid, however, Gentileschi has created a sumptuous image of the goddess of love, asleep under a velvet curtain.
Although this may seem like just another pale nude goddess lying on a soft bed in an oddly twisted position, Artemisia Gentileschi was working outside the box by painting a female nude as a woman. In the Italy of 1600, painting the female parts was still considered a man's job. No wonder Italian art ended up with sculpted breasts as baffling as those in Michelangelo's " The Night ."
But never mind the anatomical injustice of Renaissance nudes. The really puzzling thing about this painting is the baby Cupid.
Compared to other works on the same subject, Gentileschi's Venus and Cupid refreshingly lacks that creepy incestuous vibe. Still, what possessed Cupid to wave a peacock fan over his sleeping mother? Is the goddess of love such a demanding queen that she has her cherub fan her during afternoon naps?
Don't be fooled by Baby Cupid's innocent appearance. The annoying mini-god created his share of angst throughout the scene. Legend has it that Cupid used his arrows to fascinate Apollo with the naiad Daphne. Sadistic as he was, Cupid made Daphne disgusted by the god in love with music. When Apollo was chasing her, Daphne's only recourse was to turn into a laurel tree.
Some complain that Venus and Cupid is too imperfect a work for the artist. Could the painting be the work of an anonymous copycat, or even Artemisia's own husband? Despite speculation, the resemblance of Venus to Gentileschi herself cannot be denied.
Therefore, there are many ways to interpret the painting Venus and Cupid by Artemisia Gentileschi, it is just a matter of personal perception.
Paint your own face on the goddess of beauty and love? That's an artist we should respect!
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