Lotto Venus and Cupid

Lotto Venus and Cupid


Lotto Venus and Cupid

Venus and Cupid


Oil on canvas, 92, 4 x 11, 4 cm

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Of the countless Renaissance paintings of Venus and Cupid, few are as beautiful – and certainly none is quite so startling – as this humorous wedding picture. It is an allegory in which the goddess of love, surrounded by symbols of fertility and conjugal fidelity, blesses a marriage. With her right hand Venus raises a myrtle wreath through which Cupid urinates, with evident delight, onto her lap. His action may seem ludicrous to us today, but for Lotto ‘s contemporaries a urinating child was an augury of good fortune. It has been suggested that the picture was painted in 1540 for Lotto ‘s cousin, but an earlier date is also possible Venus may be a portrait of the bride.

Note: illustrates the difficulty of applying today ‘s concepts, thought processes and symbols.

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