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In 1763 Gerhard Morell, the keeper of the Royal Danish Kunstkammer, returned from Amsterdam with more than a hundred new paintings for the royal collections. One of these paintings was Abraham Bloemaerts’ "Venus and Adonis", which he acquired for 150 rigsdaler and which is listed as no. 39 in Morell’s hand-written inventory of the paintings he purchased.

At this point Morell was the driving force behind the modernisation of the old kunstkammer (literally "art chamber"), which had existed since the days of King Frederik III. He wished to create a new and modern gallery at Christiansborg in accordance with the prevalent style and taste of the time. Morell bought a great many paintings, a large portion of which belonged to the Flemish and Dutch schools.

Bloemaert founded the so-called Utrecht School, a group of young artists from Utretcht who went to Rome in the early part of the 17th century and were inspired by artists such as Caravaggio. This painting is regarded as one of Bloemaert’s masterpieces. The harmony, the intensity of the colours, and the lustre of the classical figures against the contrasting landscape behind it testifies to the quality and longevity that Morell added to the collections with his acquisitions.

The tale of Venus and Adonis is related in the ancient poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Here the goddess Venus tries in vain to persuade her mortal lover Adonis to refrain from taking part in the dangerous hunt, but in the background we see Adonis having been slain during the hunt.

In 1604 the art theoretician Karel van Mander I wrote that the Metamorphoses was the artists’ bible because many of the stories from the book were adopted as subject matter within the visual arts. Indeed, Bloemaert could look for inspiration in great artists such as Titian and Rubens, who had already painted the motif.

Details

  • Title: Venus and Adonis
  • Creator: Abraham Bloemaert
  • Date Created: 1632
  • Værktekst: I 1763 kunne kunstkammerforvalter Gerhard Morell vende hjem fra Amsterdam med over hundrede nye malerier til de kongelige samlinger. Et af disse malerier var Abraham Bloemaerts’ "Venus og Adonis" erhvervet for 150 rigsdaler og opført som nr. 39 i Morells håndskrevne fortegnelse over malerikøb. Morell var netop i disse år hovedkraften bag moderniseringen af det gamle kunstkammer, som havde eksisteret siden Frederik 3.s tid. Han ønskede i stedet at skabe et nyt og moderne galleri på Christiansborg efter tidens stil og smag. Af de mange malerier, Morell indkøbte, var en stor del af den flamske og hollandske skole. Bloemaert grundlagde den såkaldte Utrechterskole, en gruppe af unge kunstnere fra Utrecht, der i første del af 1600-tallet tog til Rom og blev inspireret af kunstnere som Caravaggio. Billedet her regnes for et af Bloemaerts mesterstykker. Harmonien, farvernes intensitet og de store klassiske figurers glans mod det kontrasterende bagvedliggende landskab vidner om den kvalitet og langtidsholdbarhed, Morell ved sine indkøb førte til samlingerne. Historien om Venus og Adonis fortælles i Ovids digt fra antikken, Forvandlinger. Her forsøger gudinden Venus, forgæves, at tale sin dødelige elsker Adonis fra at deltage i den farlige jagt, men i baggrunden skimtes den i jagten dræbte Adonis. I 1604 skrev kunstteoretikeren Karel van Mander I, at Forvandlingerne var malernes bibel, idet mange af historierne herfra blev til motiver i billedkunsten. Bloemaert har således også kunnet finde inspiration til sit motiv hos store malere som Tizian og Rubens, der tidligere havde malet motivet.
  • Teknik: Olie på lærred
  • Proveniens: Erhvervet 1764
  • Provenance: Acquired 1764
  • Physical Dimensions: w191 x h134 cm (Without frame)
  • Dansk link: http://www.smk.dk/index.php?id=2698
  • Dansk Titel: Venus og Adonis
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk/en/copyright/creative-commons/
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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