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The Triumph of Venus
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The Triumph of Venus

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This painting is inspired by the allegorical poem "The Triumphs," written by the Italian poet Petrarch (1304-74). It appears to combine two of the triumphs, that of (erotic) Love, which in Petrarch's poem is vanquished by Chastity...which is vanquished by Death (vanquished by Fame). The enthroned, modestly clothed figure must be Venus (goddess of erotic love) as the triumphal car is drawn by swans, traditionally associated with her. Nevertheless, before her is the bound, blindfolded, kneeling figure of her son Cupid, god of erotic love. Petrarch had introduced the motif of bound Cupid (eroticism kept firmly in check) as the prisoner of the personification of Chastity, shown before her on her triumphal car. The dog leading the procession may represent fidelity. Behind the chariot are the Three Graces, whose nudity is intended to symbolize unadorned beauty, sincerity, and truth. The overall dimensions and proportions of the panel painting indicate that it was inserted in the front of a typical Florentine marriage chest or cassone, initially used to transport a new bride's clothing and personal goods to the home of the groom. So the celebration of a chaste Venus would be very appropriate. Pseudo-Granacci is the name given to an unknown artist whose works are frequently confused with paintings by his Florentine contemporary Francesco Granacci (1469-1543).
Date Description Narrative
Examinationexamined for condition
11/29/1954Treatmentchemical analysis; cleaned; coated; examined for exhibition; filled; inpainted; other; varnish removed or reduced
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • A Renaissance Gem Revealed: Petrarch's Triumphs Disbound. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2002.
  • The Triumph of Marriage: Painted Cassoni of the Renaissance. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. 2008-2009.
Provenance Marquess Filippo Marignoli, Rome and Spoleto, until 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Marquess Francesco Marignoli, 1898 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome, 1899 [mode of acquisition unknown] [1900 catalogue supplement: no. 33, as Lorenzo Costa]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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ca. 1500 (Renaissance)
tempera and oil on wood panel
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
Painted surface H: 12 15/16 x W: 55 3/4 x Approx. D excluding cradle: 3/8 in. (32.9 x 141.6 x 1 cm); Framed H: 17 1/8 x W: 60 1/4 x D: 2 in. (43.5 x 153.04 x 5.08 cm)

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