Our painting imbued with Caravaggesque aestheticsdepicts the beautiful goddess Venus accompanied by her son Cupid.
Their figures illuminated by a powerful light stand out against the black background of the canvas.
With wavy blonde hair, the young woman wears an intricate ornament on her head consisting of a red ruby ??and pearl tiara, ribbons and peacock feathers.
She is dressed in a green dress with silver highlights and a white blouse.
The voluptuous goddess has her throat bared and her breasts exposed. Around the neck a necklace of two rows of pearls with a pendant that goes down to the hollow of the breasts.
Her eyes modestly lowered, she seems detached and pensive while evoking a sensual silence.
Her son, with curly blond hair, looks at the viewer with his large, curious eyes. Sketching a half-smile, he clings to his mother's shoulder and with his left hand pinches her breast, attracting the gaze of the viewer.
Venus holds Cupid in her arms, and her interlaced fingers evoke a strength and a bond that unites the mother and her son.
This staging thus expresses motherhood and female fertility.
Workshop of Paulus Moreelse,
Early 17th century Dutch school
Oil on canvas
h. 71 cm, w. 57cm
Louis XIV period frame in gilt and richly carved wood
Framed:: h. 101 cm, w. 86cm
Our work is a workshop version with identical dimensions after the painting by Paul Moreelse kept at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.
In the Netherlands in the 17th century, paintings depicting Venus with Cupid were often commissioned as wedding gifts. Procreation being one of the first duties of couples, it seems that the paintings praising the joys of motherhood were very appreciated by young women.
Paulus Moreelse was born in Utrecht in 1571. According to Carel Van Mander, he was for two years a pupil of the Delft portrait painter Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, who himself had been an apprentice with Anthonie Van Blocklandt.
Before 1596, he undertook a study trip to Rome in Italy, and received numerous commissions for portraits there. Back in Utrecht, he became a member of the saddlers' guild there in 1596 and, in 1611, he took part in the founding of the new guild of Saint-Luc, of which he became the first dean.