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Venus and Vulcan
  • Date: 1754
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 164.5 x 71.5 cm
  • Object size: 164.5 x 82.5 cm
  • Inv: P429
  • Location: Oval Drawing Room
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Further Reading
  • The painting depicts Venus with her husband Vulcan, the god of fire and smith and armourer of the gods. The scene is set in a forge, with Cupid sharpening his arrows on Vulcan’s anvil, while the god is distracted by his wife. Venus seduced her husband, with whom she was not always on the best of terms, in order to persuade him to forge arms for her mortal son Aeneas. Boucher carefully prepared the composition with numerous drawings.

    This work, together with P438 and P444, are part of a cycle with scenes of Venus. All three pictures are fine examples of Boucher’s mythological canvases of the 1750s. Their intended location is unknown, but their unusual dimensions and open sensuality suggest they were part of an interior decoration. In the nineteenth-century, the three works were enlarged in order to be combined with the slightly wider P432 to form a screen.