Venus and Adonis
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cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

Protip from Poussin: Never brush off your SO's nightmares when they're a god and/or goddess.

Adonis did, and it got him six feet under. The most eligible bachelor in Greece was on his way out for a hunt when Venus, his goddess girlfriend, asks him to have a talk. She's had a bad dream that he isn't coming back from the forest. But he figures it's just the somnambulist ramblings of a tired mind. Women are so silly, after all. So he says, "I'll be back, baby," and heads out. A couple hours later, a wild boar's gored Adonis to death, and Venus is floored when she finds the brutal aftermath. Can you say, "I told you so"? Like any completely sane and reasonable undying deity, she scoops a couple handfuls of his congealing blood and makes some flowers, which is how we got the Anemone flower. So, a little gross, but not a total loss, right?

This is a super old story. After getting the telephone treatment over the course of a couple millennia, the Christians get a hold of it. Suddenly, Adonis coming back as a flower is correlated with Christ's resurrection. Which makes it completely a must have for any self-respecting Christian art patron to demand for their collection. Poussin's a rising star in Rome's art scene, and a fan favorite with local collectors. It was only a matter of time before someone asked that he interpret this ode to ignoring your girlfriend and facing the consequences.

Poussin's approach to interpreting this story took a page from the Kanye West manual. Nicolas brought together a lot of other artists' ideas and talents, and then put his own spin on everything. The pudgy kids up front are puttis, ripped off from a Venus and Adonis scene by Guido Reni. The doves getting manhandled by the ginger chubbo are lifted straight from Annibale Carracci. Even the slinky pose of Venus is copy/pasted from a Giorgione take on the scene. Lesson for the kids: All great art is plagiarized. (But you still shouldn't!)

mhoutzager's picture


Proof positive that childhood obesity existed well before the 24 oz soft drink was invented.