Venus Gathering Apples

Italian (Roman)17th century

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

This little painting was formerly attributed to Domenichino (1581-1641). Cleaning and conservation have confirmed its quality, and it may have originated in the master’s studio.

A painting in Helsinki’s Sinebrychoff Museum, of Apollo and Daphne, repeats the nude figure. Both paintings, not necessarily by the same artist, presumably have their roots in a single drawing, probably of the famous classical statue of Venus Callipygeia (‘Venus of the beautiful behind’). The painting’s original illustrious attribution explains its magnificent carved, gilt frame.

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  • Title: Venus Gathering Apples
  • Date: 17th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w368 x h475 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: DPG26O was attributed to Domenichino until 1880, when it was catalogued by Richter as Italian School. The picture is recorded in the eighteenth century in the Breteuil collection (information on file from A. Brejon de Lavergnée).
  • Work Nationality: Italian [Roman]
  • Support: Canvas
  • School: Italian (Roman)
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: "The subject is perhaps Venus gathering the golden apples which she then used to aid Hippomenes in his race with Atalanta (Ovid, Metamorphoses, X). Her son, Cupid, waits attentively to carry the apples in his shroud. "
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)


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