Venus Disarming Cupid A window in the life and times of Jacopo Amigoni
Table of Contents • Life and History of Jacopo Amigoni • Ownership and Patronage • Friendship of Amigoni and Farinelli • Political Context • Natural vs. Achieved • Social Context • Cultural Context • Genre: History painting • Rococo Style and Examples • Subject Matter • Iconography • Overview • Bibliography
Jacopo Amigoni (1685-1752)
A brief history of Amigoni’s life • Born in1685 and trained in Venice. • He worked in European countries such as England, France, Bavaria, and Spain. • Venetian history and portrait painter • Painted portraits and large-scale decorative paintings. • Known for his Rococo style. • Influenced by Sebastian Ricci and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. • He died in Spain in 1752.
Major Events during the Life of Amigoni • Jacopo Amigoni (1684-1752) in historical context • Period characterized by Revolutions • Religious tension • Catholic foundation vs. Protestants sola scriptura undermined authority • Theories by Locke, Hume, Berkley • Locke’s Treatises on Government (1690) • - if the gov’t breaks its contract, subjects free from obligations • Scientific advances of Galileo and Newton natural philosophy • Galileo disproved Ptolemaic model, Newton proved heliocentric • Universal application of gravity and laws of motion inspire other ideas • If the laws of physics can be applied everywhere, why not natural rights? • 1733 John Kay invents flying shuttle – Industrial Revolution • End of Absolute Monarchy • Charles I in England – beginning of a series of Revolutions • Louis XIV r.1643-1715 • On his heels the French Revolution • Birth and rise of Voltaire (1694), Rousseau (1712), Kant (1724), Franklin (1706) • Key advocates for Enlightenment thought
Historical Events continued… • These Revolutions contribute to the rise of Enlightenment thought • Age of Reason • Natural rights of man • Much of Rococo is reaction against Absolutism towards Enlightenment • Seen in the Amigoni • Significant because it shows bridges two important ideological movements
Ownership and Patronage • Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, a famous opera singer of the time period, was a loyal patron and active advocator of Amigoni’s work • He was also believed to be the original owner of Venus Disarming Cupid • The two itinerant artist’s fed off each other’s mutual promotion which in turn helped boost the career of each within the art societies of the time. • Contacts were essential to attaining success as an artist during this era.
Amigoni and Farinelli, also known as Carlo Broschi (1705-1782) were friends, and Farinelli was thought to have owned the painting of “Venus Disarming Cupid” • The two lived in London and Paris during the same times. • Farinelli owned 23 of Amigoni’s paintings • Amigoni painted many portraits of Farinelli
The Singer Farinelli and Friends 1750-52 Jacopo Amigoni
Ritratto di Farinelli 1734-35 Jacopo Amigoni
Political Context • Much of the Rococo is a reaction against Absolutism • This picture of Louis XIV provides a good contrast between the two movements • One major contrast is the natural versus the achieved • This is portrayed in the comparison between the male form and the female form • Contrast between male and female forms rebellion against political systems Portrait de Louis XIV 1701 Hyacinthe Rigaud
Natural vs. Achieved • Forest vs. palace • Naked vs. robes • God vs. King • Female vs. Male • Classical vs. Modern • Innocence vs. power • Natural rights vs. King’s prerogative • Free from obligations • Enlightenment vs. Absolutism • The emphasis on the natural reflects the ideas of the natural rights of man (authority for this is from an ancient source)
Social Context After the death of Louis XIV, art shifts to salons and wealthy homes (upper class) Wealthy wish to concentrate more upon pleasures than responsibility Rebel against the rigidity and darkness of earlier baroque Exchange of moral obligation and serious events for fantasy and carefree atmosphere Art Demonstrated optimism due to advances and belief in social progression Francois Boucher The Fountain of Love c. 1748
A greater acceptance of sensuality is present throughout Europe. This leads to a direct engagement of the viewer. Caravaggio. Cupid. c.1601
Rembrandt The Return of the Prodigal Son c. 1662
Cultural Context • There were many constraints on painting at the time, especially the influence of the Académie Royale and the hierarchy of genres • Many wealthy young men, from England in particular, traveled on The Grand Tour and collected artwork on their journey • Extravagance of Italian Opera and emphasis on pleasure and the frivolity- Carnival in Venice • Many Italian artists were gaining popularity with aristocrats from England who came on Grand Tour • The desire for large scale history paintings switched to more portable works and commissioned portraits • Political movement no longer supports Rococo but moves towards Neoclassical Modern Rome Panini
Genre: History painting • Mythology • Grand events in Greek or Roman history • Reference to literature and religion • Idealization of human figure-classical • Allegory/ideas
Bathsheba Bathing 1725 Sebastiano Rici
*This piece by Pelligrini is thought to have been a direct reference to “Venus Chastising Cupid” because of the similar positions and style theme in both paintings. Venus and Cupid Giovani Antoni Pellegrini
Elements of Rococo Style • Emerged in France during the early eighteenth century • Very romantic • Characterized by richness, lightness, and love • Focused on carefree aristocratic life and lighthearted romance • S-curves • Often involves natural settings, cherubs, and peaceful scenes. • Departure from Baroque’s church/state tradition
The Birth of Venus Francois Boucher Vulcan Handing Venus the Weapons for Aeneas Francois Boucher
This contrasts the original painting of Cupid being disciplined by Venus because Mars would be a much harsher disciplinarian. He does not represent the femininity, love, and lightheartedness of Venus. An Artistic Contrast:: Cupid Chastised by Mars
JACOPO AMIGONIItalian, Venice (active throughout Europe), 1682/85 - 1752Venus Disarming Cupidoil on canvas, 1730s or 1740sAckland Fund 86.47 Ackland Art Museum Chapel Hill, NC The incident in myth that Amigoni depicts occurs in Book X of Ovid. Venus accidentally falls in love with Adonis when one of Cupid’s arrows grazes her chest. “…Once, when Venus’ son Was kissing her, his quiver dangling down A jutting arrow, unbeknown, had grazed Her breast. She pushed the boy away. In fact the wound was deeper than it seemed, Though unperceived at first…”
AMIGONI, JacopoVenus and AdonisDate unknown Oil on canvas, 142 x 173 cmAlte Pinakothek, Munich Venus’s love with Adonis fascinates many artists, so it is a fairly common subject. (Impelluso 240) “…Enraptured by The beauty of a man, she cared no more For her Cythera’s shores nor sought again Her sea-girt Paphos nor her Cnidos, famed For fish, nor her ore-laden Amathus. She shunned heaven too: to heaven she preferred Adonis…”
Venus was the Roman goddess of sensual love. Venus’s nakedness and splayed body suggest both vulnerability to the arrow and the idealization of feminine beauty and sensuality by male artists during the Rococo period. (Heleniak 641; Goodman 323; Goodman 325) Venus
Cupid was the Roman god who caused people to fall in love with his arrows. Artists commonly depict him as “a clever, somewhat impudent winged child”; occasionally punished for mischief (Impelluso 66). Cupid
Putti, or cherubs, are generally attendants of deities like Venus in European art of this period (Pierce 122). The winged children are derived from Christian angels (Whittlesey 62). In Rococo paintings, they lend an air of levity with their playful antics, making the painting pleasurable to look at (Pierce 122). Putti
In art, the forest, especially a clearing, is a sacred and secluded place of unexplored femininity, nature, and regeneration (Battistini 244-245). In art, spring and summer signify the rapture of love and marriage and fertility, respectively (Adler 793). Forest, Spring, and Summer
Red and pink signify the passion of love. White creates a sense of innocence in this painting of Venus and Cupid to balance the sensuality in the painting. Drapery Color
The bow alludes to the moderation of instinctual drives (Battistini 343). Here it is a toy for the putto in the clouds; Venus’s passion for Adonis will be unrestrained. The arrows “allude to amorous glances that pierce the heart like darts” (Battistini 343). Bow and Arrows
Looking Back… This presentation has covered: ~the life of Amigoni and his place in history ~the relationship between Farinelli and Amigoni ~the cultural, political, and social contexts of Venus Disarming Cupid ~the genre of history painting ~elements of Rococo style ~the iconography and subject matter of Venus Disarming Cupid
Bibliography • Blanning, T.C.W., ed. The Eighteenth Century: Europe 1688-1815. New York, Oxford University Press, 2000. • Department of European Paintings. "The Grand Tour". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/grtr/hd_grtr.htm (October 2003) • Elise Goodman, “Female Beauty and Adornment” Vol. 1, A-L; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). • E.S. Whittlesey, Symbols and Legends in Western Art: A Museum Guide, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1972). • Galitz, Kathryn Calley. "The French Academy in Rome". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/frac/hd_frac.htm (October 2003) • Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). • Hubala, Erich. Baroque and Rococo Art. New York: Universe Books, 1976. • James Smith Pierce, From Abacus to Zeus: A Handbook of Art History, Fifth Edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1995).
Bibliography continued… • Kathryn Moore Heleniak, “Naked/Nude” Vol. 2, M-Z; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). • Lucia Impelluso, Gods and Heroes in Art, Ed.Stefano Zuffi, Trans. Thomas Michael Hartmann, (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2002). • Matilde Battistini, Allegories and Symbols in Art, Trans. Stephen Sartarelli. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Trust, 2005). • Minor, Vernon Hyde. Baroque and Rococo Art and Culture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1999. • Pignatti, Terisio. The Age of Rococo. London: Cassell Publishers Limited, 1988. • Shane Adler, “Seasons” Vol. 2 M-Z; Helene E. Roberts, Ed., Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art., (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1998). • Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 95. (1964), pp. 268-282.