Allegory of Venus (Bronzino)

Allegory of Venus (Bronzino)

Artist Agnolo Bronzino

Date ca. 1546

Movement Late Renaissance

Medium Oil on panel

Dimensions 57.5 x 45.5″

Housed at The National Gallery, London


This work was commissioned by Duke Cosimo as a gift for King Francis I of France. Bronzino depicts Father Time pulling a drape from Fraud to reveal Cupid and Venus in an embrace; Folly looks on with delight, while Pleasure, half- woman and half-serpent, offers a honeycomb; in the shadows, Pain or Jealousy shrieks in despair. Bronzino embodies the Mannerist movement in this painting—beautiful, stylized figures wriggle contort themselves to fit in a very small space, while the subject matter and theme offers an emotive response from each member—lust, delight, agony, despair; by keeping the figures close to the surface of the painting, Bronzino makes the viewer almost a part of the bizarre theatrics taking place.