• Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

    Artist:
    West, Benjamin. 1738-1820
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    77x64 cm

West, Benjamin. 1738-1820

Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

Great Britain, 1802 (?)

Although the American colonies fought for their independence from Britain in the 18th century, many artists preferred to come to the mother country and serve the King. European ways presented them with extensive opportunities for work and allowed them to use the skills acquired while travelling around Italy. That was the case with Benjamin West, an American-born artist who found a place at the court of George III in London. Together with Joshua Reynolds he was active in the establishment of the Royal Academy of Arts. Benjamin West’s classical style of painting set the standard for the artists of his time and circle. In the Hermitage painting the goddess of love and beauty is tenderly embracing her son, who has been stung by a bee. The artist explained his choice of subject with a quotation from an ode by the Ancient Greek poet Anacreon: “Dry, dry your tears, for shame, my child…” Venus seems to be telling the youngster that the pain of a bee-sting is nothing compared to what the god of love himself inflicts with his arrows on gods and humans. After all, Cupid’s bolts pierce to the very heart. For a long time this painting adorned the palace of the Yusupov family on the River Moika in St Petersburg. After the revolution the painting was transferred to the State Museum Fund that was created from the nationalized treasures of the Russian aristocracy. From there the canvas came into the Hermitage.

Title:

Venus Consoling Cupid Stung by a Bee

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

77x64 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1925; transferred from the Yusupov Palace Museum in Leningrad; formerly in the Yusupovs' collection

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5849

Category:

Collection:

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