Venus and Adonis I Peter Paul Rubens Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Artist Rubens revisited the theme of Venus and Adonis many times, with this particular version being completed in 1635. It can be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

This flemish painter was interested in classical literature and decided to take on the story of Metamorphoses by Ovid within his work. The content in each version produced by Rubens features Venus holding onto Adonis before he heads off on a hunt. In this piece Cupid is also shown holding onto his leg. Sadly, the tragedy is formed by the subsequent death of Adonis later that day. This is therefore a touching moment in which a desperate plea is made in the name of love.

Rubens is likely to have been inspired by the many different interpretations that occurred in previous centuries, prior to his own career. Someone who took on this theme particularly well was Titian, an Italian artist who was particularly respected for his use of colour. His best known version of Venus and Adonis came about in 1554 and underlined many of this master's best technical qualities. The content featured in this narrative was ideally suited to both Rubens and Titian, which perhaps explains why they revisited so many times. The former is known to have studied the achievements of the Italians a century or so earlier and so this connection and influence is highly likely to have entirely been the case.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art possesses one of the finest art collections in the entire country and also offers a diverse selection of work, covering many different art movements as well as focusing on international items from many civilisations. It is hard to imagine anyone struggling to find something to their taste here and it remains one of the most popular cultural venues within the city of New York. In terms of highlights from their collection, some related items to look out for includes Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, Melencolia I by Albrecht Dürer plus also a great selection of master drawings from the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Those with a wider interest will find African and Asian artifacts here as well elsewhere in this large and elaborately decorated building.