Mythology and landscape painting are combined in this imaginative piece from Annibale Carracci who was a highly respected Italian Baroque painter and draughtsman. Many of the figurative elements in his paintings would require considerable numbers of study sketches in order to perfect this challenging technical discipline. Even as his career and experience developed, Carracci would still require study drawings to plan out his larger compositions.
Venus, the Goddess of Love, is used on many ocassions by artist Carracci and most of his paintings make use of either mythological or religious themes. This was entirely normal for this period of art history. You will also find here frequently within Renaissance artist's ouevre, such as Sandro Botticelli with his famous Birth of Venus mural. The specific topic of the Toilet of Venus has also been covered by other artists, with examples including Rokeby Venus by Diego Velazquez and The Toilette of Venus by Francois Boucher.
Some find that the style used by Annibale Carracci plus those within his small studio was similar in some ways to the Venetian artists of the Renaissance, particularly in his colour palette and fairly liberal use of lighting. The overall finish of his paintings would therefore be positive and joyful, rather than the depressing, shocking darkness of Caravaggio. Rembrandt also used a particularly abrupt style of lighting that grabbed your attention aggressively.