Cranach the Elder Lucas. Venus and Cupid. Art print on canvas
Aphrodite (Greek, Rom. – Venus) is the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, the mother of Eros. Both gods and people submit to her love power. Only virgin goddesses – Athena, Artemis and Hestia (Rom. – Vesta, the goddess of the home) do not bend to her. Aphrodite protects lovers and persecutes those who reject love.
In many myths Aphrodite was extolled as the goddess of fertility, giving life to flora and fauna. Rose, apple, dolphin, pigeon were dedicated to her. There are several legends about Aphrodite birth. The most widespread one calls Aphrodite the daughter of Zeus and oceanid Dione. Another tells that the goddess springs from Uranus and that she was born from the sea-foam. Because of the fact that mythology connects Aphrodite with the sea, in many areas of the Ancient Greece, especially on the islands, she was revered as the patroness of navigation and was called “sea Aphrodite” and “Aphrodite soothing the sea”. The islands Cyprus and Kyphera near which Aphrodite appeared from the sea-foam were the principal center of the goddess’s cult. From here the frequently used names Cyprida and Kypherea come.
The picture was created during Cranach’s working as a court artist for the Saxon prince-elector in Wittenberg. The black background beautifully contrasts here with the warm golden colouring of the woman’s body, as if slightly touched by the southern sun.
In the picture Venus is presented as though she restrains her naughty son who is ready to shoot another arrow. But the image of the fatal and inevitable passion is performed by the very nudity of her rather ponderous body, by the splendour of her free dark brown hair, by a bit gloomy meditative look of her big almond-shaped eyes.
In this work Cranach comes close to the style of Renaissance Italian artists who made the aesthetic meaning of the image the chief aim of the art and for whom depicting a naked model served the best means for accomplishing this task.
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Agni Publishing House (Samara, Russia), Nicholas Roerich Museum (New York) and Fine Arts Academy Gallery (Moscow, Russia) have published a unique album, dedicated to the pictorial heritage of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
Will be available on the second volume of a unique publication dedicated to the works of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947).
The album was released by the publishing house "Agni" (Samara), with active cooperation of the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York, as well as the Moscow Gallery Fine Arts Academy and the St. Petersburg State Museum and Institute of the Roerich Family.