The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Venus and Cupid
  • Frans van Mieris the Elder (1635 - 1681)
  • Venus and Cupid
  • Netherlands
  • 1665
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 13.6 x 17.3 cm
    Frame size: 22.5 x 25.8 cm
  • Signature: 'F. van Mieris Ao 1665'
  • P639
  • East Galleries III
Further Reading
  • Frans van Mieris was the most eminent member of a Leiden family of artists. He trained with Gerrit Dou, who described him as the ‘Prince of his pupils’, and along with Dou was a founder of the Leiden fijnschilders. He was the father of Willem and Jan van Mieris. In this painting, Venus, identified by her doves, is seated in an Italianate landscape while a weeping Cupid is brought before her on a chariot. The scene may be that described in Anacreon’s Odes (XL), where Venus refuses to sympathise with Cupid, who has been stung by a bee, because his arrows of love inflict far more pain than a mere bee-sting. The mythological subject is, however, unusual in his work; yet the signature appears genuine and the picture has been considered autograph since at least 1715, when it was in the collection of Giovanni Ascania Tricca, Councillor at the Electoral Court of Bavaria in Munich. Tricca sold the picture to Baron Schönborn in 1719, and the 4th Marquess of Hertford was able to fulfil his often-repeated desire to obtain a work by Van Mieris by purchasing it at the 1867 Schönborn sale in Paris.