Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2024)

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Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1)

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Lorenzo Lotto Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 608

In this startling and playful painting, Cupid devilishly urinates on his mother Venus through a laurel wreath—an act that symbolizes fertility. The provocative tone of the picture speaks to the growing popularity of eroticism in European art at the time, owing in part to the rediscovery of ancient texts. Lotto likely took inspiration from ancient Roman poetry that describes Cupid waking Venus so that she may preside over a wedding. Her crown, veil, and pearl earring are all items commonly worn by brides in sixteenth-century Venice, indicating that this was probably painted to commemorate a marriage. Venus’s distinctive features suggest that it may be a portrait of the bride.

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Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (3)

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Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (4)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (5)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (6)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (7)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (8)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (9)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (10)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (11)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (12)

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Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (14)

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Fig. 1. Line engraving (from Salomon Reinach, "Répertoire de peintures du moyen age et de la renaissance (1280–1580)," Paris, vol. 4, 1918, p. 652)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (15)

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Fig. 2. Plate from Cesare Vecellio, "Habiti antichi et moderni," Venice, 1598

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (16)

Fig. 3. Plate from Francesco Colonna, "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili," Venice, 1499

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (17)

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Fig. 4. Before cleaning (from Bernard Berenson, "Lotto," 3rd ed., Milan, 1955, pl. 258)

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (18)

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Fig. 5. Painting in frame: overall

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (19)

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Fig. 6. Painting in frame: corner

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (20)

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Fig. 7. Painting in frame: angled corner

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (21)

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Fig. 8. Profile drawing of frame. W 6 9/16 in. 16.6 cm (T. Newbery)

Artwork Details

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Title: Venus and Cupid

Artist: Lorenzo Lotto (Italian, Venice ca. 1480–1556 Loreto)

Date: 1520s

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 36 3/8 x 43 7/8 in. (92.4 x 111.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Marietta Tree, 1986

Accession Number: 1986.138

Learn more about this artwork

"Where did Praxiteles see me naked?" Depictions of Venus in Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting

Curator Keith Christiansen explores a provocative new juxtaposition of four paintings by Veronese, Titian, and Lotto, all of which depict Venus, the goddess of love.

La Serenissima: Venetian Glory in The Met's Galleries

Curator Andrea Bayer surveys a selection of The Met's Venetian paintings ahead of a series of talks she will give in February, Celebrating La Serenissima.

Connections: Olympians

Associate publisher Gwen Roginsky and her teenage daughter Ana Sofia Meneses relish the drama of the dysfunctional family that is the Olympians.

Connections: Date Night

Editorial assistant Nadja Hansen expounds on why the Met is a great place for a date.

Timeline of Art History

Essay

Art and Love in the Italian Renaissance

Essay

Botanical Imagery in European Painting

Essay

Courtship and Betrothal in the Italian Renaissance

Essay

Northern Italian Renaissance Painting

Essay

Paintings of Love and Marriage in the Italian Renaissance

Essay

Sixteenth-Century Painting in Venice and the Veneto

Chronology

Venice and Northern Italy, 1400-1600 A.D.

Chronology

Venice and Northern Italy, 1400-1600 A.D.

Museum Publications

The Wrightsman Pictures

Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1986–1987

Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008

One Met. Many Worlds.

"North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Venice and the Veneto": The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 63, no. 1 (Summer, 2005)

"North of the Apennines: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna": The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 60, no. 4 (Spring, 2003)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Spanish)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Russian)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Portuguese)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Korean)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Japanese)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Italian)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (German)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (French)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Chinese)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Arabic)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

Metropolitan Jewelry

Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born before 1865: A Summary Catalogue

Art and Love in Renaissance Italy

Art = Discovering Infinite Connections in Art History

See more

Related Artworks

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  • In the same gallery
  • By Lorenzo Lotto
  • European Paintings
  • Provenance Research Project
  • Canvas
  • Oil paint
  • Paintings
  • From Europe
  • From Italy
  • From A.D. 1400–1600

Raising of Lazarus

1480–1556

Head of a Bearded Man

Lorenzo Lotto (Italian, Venice ca. 1480–1556 Loreto)

1516–17

Brother Gregorio Belo of Vicenza

Lorenzo Lotto (Italian, Venice ca. 1480–1556 Loreto)

1547

The Lamentation

Ludovico Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1555–1619 Bologna)

ca. 1582

Bartolomeo Bonghi (died 1584)

Giovanni Battista Moroni (Italian, Albino, no later than 1524–1578 Albino)

shortly after 1553

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Now, let's discuss the concepts mentioned in this article.

Lorenzo Lotto's "Venus and Cupid"

Lorenzo Lotto's painting "Venus and Cupid" is a provocative and playful artwork that depicts Cupid urinating on his mother Venus through a laurel wreath. This act symbolizes fertility and reflects the growing popularity of eroticism in European art during the 16th century. The painting likely drew inspiration from ancient Roman poetry that described Cupid waking Venus to preside over a wedding. Venus is depicted wearing a crown, veil, and pearl earring, which were common bridal accessories in 16th-century Venice, suggesting that the painting may have been created to commemorate a marriage [[1]].

Open Access and Image Usage

The artwork "Venus and Cupid" is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Open Access policy. This means that the image of the artwork can be freely copied, modified, and distributed, even for commercial purposes. The Met's Open Access API provides public domain data for this object, allowing access to the image and related information [[2]].

Artwork Details

  • Title: Venus and Cupid
  • Artist: Lorenzo Lotto
  • Date: 1520s
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 36 3/8 x 43 7/8 in. (92.4 x 111.4 cm)
  • Classification: Paintings
  • Credit Line: Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Marietta Tree, 1986
  • Accession Number: 1986.138 [[3]]

Related Artworks and Resources for Research

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's European Paintings collection includes more than 2,500 works of art from the 13th through the early 20th century. The collection features renowned artists and provides a rich resource for research and exploration. The Met's Libraries and Research Centers offer unparalleled resources for studying and understanding these artworks. Additionally, The Met Collection API provides access to up-to-date data and public domain images for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use [[4]].

I hope this information helps! If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask.

Lorenzo Lotto | Venus and Cupid | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2024)

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