Pompeo Marchesi is considered the Lombard heir to the sculptor Antonio Canova, to whom he paid tribute throughout his long career as an artist, with these references and ideal allusions evoking some of the Venetian master's finest works.
The 2 met and visited each other during the latter's sojourn in Rome. Between 1804 and 1808, the years that the young artist from Como spent in Rome, Canova created "Paolina Borghese come Venere Vincitrice" (Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix), from which Marchesi drew inspiration for his image of Venus.
This later work, also known as the "Venere erotica" (Erotic Venus) is one of the variations of 1826's "Venus Pudica." It differs in its more provocative pose and attitude and by the presence of a net. The net is a reference to an episode from Homer which describes Vulcan's discovery of Venus' betrayal with Mars, both harnessed to the marital bed by an invisible net that Vulcan had positioned in order to catch them in the act.