About this artwork

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.

  • title:
    Venus and Cupid
  • accession number:
    NG 1942
  • artist:
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  • glossary:
  • materials:
    Oil on panel
  • date created:
    About 1537
  • measurements:
    38.10 x 27.00 cm (framed: 61.70 x 51.00 x 4.90 cm)
  • credit line:
    Bequest of the 11th Marquess of Lothian 1941
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Lucas Cranach

Lucas Cranach