Artworks
Cupid Complaining to Venus
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ssohail's picture

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Lucas Cranach the Elder did a whole series of Cupids Complaining to Venus, but this is the only one that belongs in Vogue.

It’s the high fashion accessories that win it for me. V is wearing her hair in an elaborately braided bun that echoes her twisty rope necklace perfectly. She sports a massive red sunhat with a trim of what seems to be white pom-poms. So chic. 

Her accoutrements are so elegant, she’s opted for total nudity to show them off. That’s how we see the goddess Venus in most paintings and sculptures traditionally, so it’s also good for her brand. Venus has the traditional bod of a mythical Cranach creature: tall and pale with high, perky breasts and an overall Gothic gauntness.

Hot as she is, she's not about to win mother of the year. While she gives us a devil-may-care stare, her baby boy looks distressed. Honeybees are stinging Cupid profusely, but all she wants to do is strike a pose. Have a heart, V! 

Cranach’s workshop produced about 25 versions of this particular painting. Maybe the irony of a story where Cupid’s the one who gets stung was a hot seller at the time. Maybe everyone got off on the sexual undertones of nectar-sucking, bee-stinging and honey-secreting. Or maybe Lucas’s mom just didn’t pick him up enough as a kid...

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Cupid complaining to Venus

Cupid complaining to Venus is an oil painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Nearly 20 similar works by Cranach and his workshop are known, from the earliest dated version in Güstrow Palace of 1527 to one in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, dated to 1545, with the figures in a variety of poses and differing in other details. The Metropolitan Museum of Art notes that the number of extant versions suggests that this was one of Cranach's most successful compositions.

A version acquired by the National Gallery, London in 1963 is perhaps the earliest example. Although undated, experts have dated it to c.1526-7. It is more elaborate than the others, and in a larger format than most, except for the similarly sized Güstrow version and a larger (life size) version at the Galleria Borghese, Rome dated to 1531. Cranach had painted Venus and Cupid together since at least his 1509 painting now held by the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Cupid complaining to Venus.