• C
  • Lucas Cranach
Venus and Cupid

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Venus and Cupid about 1537
The mischievous, naked Cupid, clutching his bow, identifies the languid nude lady as his mother Venus, the goddess of love. Her wispy hair and transparent drapery flutter around as if in a gentle breeze, their lightness contrasting with the heavy gold necklaces. She conforms to Cranach's ideal of beauty, inspired by the theory of classical art rather than by practical examples. Cranach signed the painting on Cupid's pedestal with a winged serpent. This motif featured on the coat of arms awarded to him by the Elector of Saxony in 1508. From about 1537 the serpent's wings appear folded as here.

Glossary Open


A general term for art and architecture based on ancient Greek and Roman culture.


A distinctive element in a work of art or design.

Classicism, Motif


  • Acc. No. NG 1942
  • Medium Oil on panel
  • Size 38.10 x 27.00 cm
  • Credit Bequest of the 11th Marquess of Lothian 1941