Peter Paul Rubens, Venus and Adonis, mid- or late 1630s
Oil on Canvas
77 3/4 x 95 5/8 in.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY This painting is a love story that Venus and Cupid stop Adonis from going to a hunting party. For the composition, there are three human figures, Venus, Adonis and Cupid in center of painting. The Venus is sitting in stone naked but with a sheer scarf and a blue blanket. She has a long blond hair and pink cheek. The other main character, the Adonis, was obstructed by both Venus and Cupid, in a red tunic. He also wore boots and with a lance. He looks young and strong because of his muscles and brown hair. Between them, their baby cupid enfolds Adonis to get his bow. The color of his hair is lighter than Venus. He is naked also with a pair of white wing. Behind them, there is a huge tree which viewers can only see may be half of it in painting. The trunk is huge that covering half of the painting; it may be a good season that people are gathering and hunting. In the left side, the coursers look like they can wait to fight with some monsters. They look forward , and one seems to look at the Venus, the other one is looking at the ground like he is thinking about something. They seems that could not wait to fight with their hero Adonis. The background of this painting looks like near the sea. The clouds come down and near the ground. The storm may be on the way to join this fight. Like before a drastic fight, the weather will be strange and terrible, it could help to make the battle more interesting. Through three character's expression, the Adonis seems has a strong intention go to the hunting party even though his lover Venus does not want him to go. Her bright and big eyes looking forward him, but his fiery eyes only pay attention on his bow and arrows. Nothing can catch more his eyes on. His dark brown clarion which is strapped to his waist is upturned. It is kind of announcing that he is ready to fight and never stop his way to the victory. The poor lover Venus tries her best to keep her dear hero from the dangers; the pure love is kind of not powerful enough to stop this persistent fighter. His bright red clothing had determined his desire on this fight. Comparing with the mortal hero, sensible Venus looks more peaceful and reasonable. Her genuine eyes anxiety seemed to have penetrated the man's heart even though Adonis despite it. Her hands gently cover around her lover’s arm no matter how cold her lover is. The little pure angle, Cupid, his small body is not as strong as his father, so that he should use both hands and one of his leg to surround this eager man. In spite of this cannot stop men wanted to conquer all in the world, consisting on the unnecessary wars and killings. Dogs cannot wait to help owners seeking the dangerous journey. Despite the bloodshed and even sacrifice, men are still going to that long fight. That bright robe have not disseminated the blood, but it seems has already drink the blood. This is a painting that Rubens was inspired by Ttian’s painting of the same scene in the Prado, Madrid while he was staying there. He saw its copy and decided to draw his own picture. During his late period, mid- 1630s, he finished this painting. Rubens was a fan of the artist, Titian, and tried to copied his style and learned his techniques. However, he usually got the inspiration from Titan’s works.¹ His development in his own work is obvious. For the design, Rubens composition is more impressive and dynamic. Radiographs reveal that Rubens gave Adonis a somber expression, which was repainted at a later date. The picture was presented by Emperor Joseph I to the first Duck of Marlborough and nowadays it is exhibited in Metropolitan Museum of Art.5It is a significant oil painting that considered as a Baroque style and also a important work of Rubens’ late, “lyrical” period.² During 1609, actually, Rubens produced a similar…