• Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

    Artist:
    West, Benjamin. 1738-1820
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    77x64 cm

West, Benjamin. 1738-1820

Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

Great Britain, 1786

The English school of painting that came into being in the 18th century adopted the veneration for Raphael dictated by the academies but reassessed it with typically English independence and originality. Joshua Reynolds, the founding father of the national school and first president of the British Royal Academy acknowledged Raphael’s greatness but considered it necessary to supplement that with the great merits of other, at times diametrically opposite artists: Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, creating on their basis a grand style that was at one and the same time both festive and lyrical.Pennsylvania-born Benjamin West, who succeeded Reynolds in the post of president of the academy, inherited much from his predecessor’s manner, but he was inclined towards a stricter, more classical style within which Raphael was assigned an emphatically important place. The artist even named his son Raphael, and he stylized a portrait of the boy and his mother in imitation of the Madonna della Sedia. In the case of Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee, the subject itself would inevitably evoke associations with the Villa Farnesina frescoes, especially the composition Venus Showing Psyche to Cupid that provided the basis for the arrangement of the figures and the painting’s colour scheme. At the same time, the energetic brushwork and the dense saturated palette give away the Britishness of the artist. Starting with a prototype provided by Raphael, West creates an entirely independent work, although he does retain the chief quality of the Raphael frescoes – the combination of the sublimity of the images with their enchanting naturalness.

Title:

Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

77x64 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1925; transferred from the Yusupov Palace Museum in Leningrad; formerly in the Yusupovs' collection

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5849

Category:

Collection:

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