The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Venus and Cupid
  • Francesco Albani (1578 - 1660)
  • Venus and Cupid
  • Italy
  • c. 1640 - c. 1645
  • Painting
  • Oil painting on copper
  • Image size: 29.7 x 39.6 cm
    Frame size: 51 x 60.5 x 8.5 cm
  • P642
  • Reserve Gallery
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Venus and Cupid repeats motifs found in Albani’s work in the late 1620s. Albani is alleged to have modelled the putti in his paintings on his own babies, suspended from the ceiling with ropes. The group of children lighting torches, here signifying the contagious power of Love, recurs in Albani’s Fire, one of a set of The Elements (Turin, Galleria Sabauda) dateable 1626-8. Albani’s small scale, carefully finished cabinet pictures particularly appealed to French collectors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Louis XIV had more pictures by Albani than any other Bolognese painter. The 4th Marquess of Hertford therefore emulates ancien régime taste in purchasing this modest but decorative picture at a time in the mid-nineteenth century when Albani’s works, criticised for their frivolous and repetitive nature, were actually beginning to fall out of favour.