Artworks
Time Clipping Cupid's Wings
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Arty Fact

wbillingsley's picture

Contributor

Time Clipping Cupid's Wings is probably one of the bluntest cries for help ever made during the 17th century.

It doesn't take much to understand that this image is meant to discuss time’s effect on the things we love, and while it's a glum and bitter topic, it is actually a very popular scene and quite a few renditions of it have been made. Perhaps the most notable is a version done by Anthony Van Dyck, which is distinct from this one in the fact that it is a bit darker in tone and has a cupid that actually looks like a baby.

However, where Van Dyck was probably just blowing off some artistic steam, Pierre here was actually in the throws of a major life tragedy. See the thing is that Pierre Mignard was a rival of Charles Le Brunn, which was maybe not the smartest move due to the fact that Le Brunn was essentially the dictator of all matters artistic in France at the time. He was in charge of all royal commissions, as well as the French Art Academy. Pierre, the bold revolutionary Frenchman he was, was the primary organizer of opposition to Le Brunn’s authority. However, this meant that the majority of his artistic projects were relegated to portraits and religious paintings, a prime example being Portrait of Louise de Kerouaille

Then Le Brunn died. Pierre subsequently acquired all of Le Brunn’s positions. But alas, this was late in Pierre’s career, and due to the smaller scale nature of the majority of his works, he was not prepared to handle the larger projects that came with royal commissions. Pierre wanted to renovate the cupola of the Hôtel des Invalides as a sort of crowning performance of his career. However, the project met delay after delay. Five years later, still no progress on the cupola would be made, and he would subsequently die himself. Significantly, this picture was painted one year prior to Pierre’s death, at the very end of his soured career.

Sources

Sources

  1. Denver Art Museum. “Time Clipping Cupid's Wings” Denver Art Museum viewed on 08/11/2019 https://denverartmuseum.org/object/2000.201
  2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica “Pierre Mignard” Encyclopædia Britannica 05/26/2019 https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pierre-Mignard
  3. Hoakley “The Story in Paintings: Painting to the music of time” The Electric Light Company. 04/09/16 http://www.artnet.com/artists/anthony-van-dyck/time-clipping-cupids-wing...
  4. Knight, Kevin “Pierre Mignard” The Catholic Encyclopedia viewed on 08/11/2019 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10289a.htm
  5. Oxford Reference “Charles Le Brun” Oxford University Press, viewed on 08/11/2019 https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100056837
  6. Oxford Reference “Pierre Mignard” Oxford University Press, viewed on 08/11/2019 https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110810105411867