The puttis in this painting by Rubens are picking apples in honour of Venus, the goddess of love. Venus, who is present in the painting in the form of a statue receives a basket full from two of them. The entire painting is really one great celebration of the power of love.

Worship of Venus is a pendant to The Andrians. The paintings are copies of Titian. The themes of the paintings come from the Greek thinker Philostratos's writings on rhetoric from the 3rd century. Exactly when and where Rubens produced his copies of The Andrians and the Worship of Venus we do not know. But they were in his studio at the time of his death in 1640. They were sold to Philip VI of Spain at that time who also owned Titian's originals. During the Napoleonic invasion of Spain Rubens's paintings were taken as booty and fell to the lot of Marshall Bernadotte who brought them with him to Sweden when he assumed the throne. They were inherited by Karl XV who donated them to the Nationalmuseum in 1865.


  • Title: Worship of Venus
  • Creator: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Creator Lifespan: 1577/1640
  • Creator Nationality: Flemish
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date Created: 1630s
  • Title in Swedish: Offer till Venus
  • Physical Dimensions: w2100 x h1950 cm (without frame)
  • Artist Information: Rubens was a Flemish painter, draughtsman and engraver, as well as a diplomat. Rubens was born in Siegen in Westphalia, where his parents moved to avoid religious persecution. The family later returned to Antwerp, where Rubens studied under Otto van Veen and others. In 1598 Rubens became a master of the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. Shortly thereafter, he travelled on an extended art trip to Italy, where he became court painter to Duke Gonzaga of Mantua. In 1609 he returned to his homeland and was employed as court painter to Archduke Albert and Infanta Isabella. Due to extremely generous terms, he was able to continue working in Antwerp despite the court being based in Brussels. His many commissions for altarpieces in churches led him to build up a large workshop with a sizeable workforce. Rubens also worked as a diplomat. He was in Paris from 1622–1625, where he created a series of 24 paintings for the Palais de Luxembourg. He also travelled to Madrid and London between 1628 and 1630. In Madrid he completed copies of Titian’s paintings in the Spanish Royal collection. In London he painted ceiling frescoes in the Banqueting House in Whitehall, which contributed to his knighthood from King Charles I. Rubens’ first wife, Isabella Brant, died in June 1626. A year later, he married the 16 year-old Helena Fourment. In 1635, he bought the estate of Het Steen near Mechelen, where he spent most of his final years. In 1636, Rubens was appointed court painter to King Philip IV of Spain. His commissions during this period included a series of paintings for the King’s hunting lodge, Torre de la Parada.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nationalmuseum, Nationalmuseum
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

Additional Items

Worship of Venus (Supplemental)

Worship of Venus (Supplemental)

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