The Wallace Collection

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Venus Disarming Cupid
  • French School
  • Venus Disarming Cupid
  • France
  • c. 1700 - 1730
  • Statuette
  • Lost-wax cast in several parts sleeve-joined or plugged together. Integral terrain base striated with punchmarks. Brassy alloy. Ebony pedestal with gilt-bronze mounts.
  • Statuette, Height: 43.8 cm
    Terrain base, Length: 23.3 cm
    Terrain base, Width: 19.2 cm
    Plinth, Height: 9.5 cm
  • S194
  • East Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This elegant composition represents a variant of the theme of the “Punishment of Cupid” in which the god of love is chastised (sometimes quite harshly) for the havoc caused by his arrows.

    The goddess Venus is here identified by a complete catalogue of her attributes and symbols related to love: the yoke of her chariot is in the shape of a scallop shell reminding us that she was born from the sea foam and is engraved with a flaming heart at the back. At her feet, the billing doves are also her traditional attributes, as are the roses in the garland that crowns her head.

    The pose of the female figure and the type of the Cupid are closely related to those of a bronze group with the Abduction of Helen today at the Louvre which has been linked to Pierre Puget (1620-1694) and Philippe Bertrand (1663-1724, see also S176). However, there are strong affinities also with the work of other contemporary sculptors known to have created numerous original models for small-scale bronze sculptures in the first quarter of the eighteenth century, such as Corneille van Clève (1645-1732, see also S186) and Robert Le Lorrain (1666-1743, see also S185).

    Small-scale bronzes of this period all share common elements in the elegant, theatrical poses, the subtly erotic mythological themes and marked pictorial treatment of the compositions.