Venus and Adonisc. 1610

Formerly owned by Friedrich V, the painting moved to the famous Elector’s Collection and initially hung in Düsseldorf City Castle, then in Bensberg Castle. During the transfer to Munich of the royal inheritance it was forgotten, and thus remained in the Düsseldorf Collection. Today, it is considered one of the masterpieces of the Collection and is the first version Rubens painted on the theme. He created it shortly after returning from Italy. The tragic farewell the lovers bid each other is touching and edifying at once. Knowing full well that Adonis will be killed by a wild boar, neither Venus nor Amor can prevent him from going hunting. Rubens had come into contact with the story, which is reminiscent of Ovid’s Metamorphoses but is not explicitly recounted there, in Italy through the works of Titian and Cambiaso. Adonis’ diagonal posture, rendering both his heroic body and the conflict between staying and going visible, can be seen as a mirror-image of the classical sculpture of Laocoon. (Kathrin DuBois)More Details

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