Monday, January 21, 2019

Wrath Of Venus

Today I start things off with a pope. Maffeo Barberini, Pope Urban VIII is this sculpted bust by Gianlorenzo Bernini, standing in the Baroque Room. Even as a bust it has the feeling of movement, as if the pope is welcoming someone into his presence. Bernini worked for the Catholic church throughout his career (and, if you take Dan Brown too seriously, was a secret Illuminati master sculptor who laid out a trail of sculptures in Rome for Robert Langdon to follow in one preposterous evening, but let's not get silly). The bust humanizes him- Urban has lines around the eyes, stubble along his jaw- and feels quite true to life.

Nearby hangs this oil painting. Salvator Rosa painted The Return Of The Prodigal Son at some point between 1655-65, depicting the New Testament parable of a foolhardy son who demanded his inheritance early, spent it wastefully, came to ruin, and comes home to his forgiving father.

Another New Testament moment lies across the room in this oil painting. Christ And The Woman Of Samaria was painted in 1647 by Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barberi). It recounts the moment that Jesus meets a woman who has come to draw water from a well. He uses the notion of water as a metaphor for salvation: 'the water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.' 

The Dutch artist Salomon van Ruysdael painted River Landscape around 1650, depicting life along a river close to home.

Aelbert Cuyp, another Dutch artist, painted this oil painting around the same time. Cattle, Herdsmen, And Rider depicts a country setting. Cuyp was known to repeat certain motifs in his work, including cows and horsemen, and here he depicts the results of a fertile and prosperous locale.

Here we have a second take on that biblical parable. Dutch artist Jan Weenix painted The Return of The Prodigal Son in 1668. It places the setting to suggest Italy.

Italian artist Pietro Rotari did this oil painting around 1754-56. Young Woman With A Fan gives us a woman who seems at ease, but aware of her observer.

Here we have a view of the other interior courtyard with the reflecting pool from above.

Today I finish off with a small sculpture, Venus Plucking The Wings Of Cupid. This bronze by Massimiliano Soldani recounts an element of the myth of Cupid & Psyche, and shows the goddess of love in an uncharacteristic wrathful state where her son is concerned.


  1. Wonderful artwork! Thanks for sharing it.

  2. The "Young Woman With A Fan" is my favorite!

  3. I too like the young woman with a fan portrait.

  4. The simple name of Rotari's painting makes her gaze as powerful as the closed fan. Good photos, the gold frames are beautiful.

  5. ...grand art in a grand space.

  6. Personally I don't like old paintings, but I admit that without them we wouldn't know how people were dressed or lived ! These painters were the photographers of their time !

  7. I like the Young Woman with a Fan too. Interesting bust sculpture, too :-)

  8. I too visited and art museum yesterday. Although it was The Modern. I do like old paintings best. I can at least figure them out.

  9. @Linda: you're welcome.

    @Iris: it's a good one.

    @Nancy: I figured people would go for it.

    @Maywyn: thank you.

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Tom: indeed.

    @John: you're welcome.

    @Gattina: I can see that.

    @DJan: thanks!

    @Janey: I agree.

  10. The young woman with the fan is my favourite too. And I like the bust of the Pope.

  11. You have a prodigious memory for what you see. Do you take photos of the accompanying information?

  12. Hello William!
    Great artwork! My favorite is the young woman with the fan!
    Thank you for sharing! Have a lovely week!

  13. i enjoy the boat & the umbrella paintings ... way cool!
    fun style!! ( ;

  14. The pope in the first pic looks just like someone I know! Weird!

  15. Great renaissance art here! That sculpture is amazingly powerful...I'd never heard that myth before. Poor cupid!

  16. I really like that painting of the young woman with the fan. The artist really captured her well.

  17. One has to stop and remember that the painters are giving us a look at a time before the camera. There was also lots of history along with their painting.

  18. I like the Young Woman with a Fan painting too. Her face makes one wonder what she is thinking.

  19. @Sami: she's enigmatic!

    @Anvilcloud: yes, I always photograph the accompanying panel for reference.

    @Dimi: I assumed she'd be popular.

    @Beth: thank you.

    @RedPat: weird indeed.

    @Barbara: it's been years since I read that myth.

    @Sharon: he did!

    @Red: quite true.

    @Lois: she does have that effect.

  20. A very spiritual start to the week.


  21. What a fantastic place to visit. Of course, I Tweeted.

  22. I really like Aelbert Cuyp, not only that he is dutch ... :))
    Thank you for sharing! Nice week!

  23. Beautiful art, William. Thanks for sharing!

  24. The courtyard is itself a work of art.

  25. Wonderful. The Woman with the Fan is quite enigmatic.

  26. Nice to see some painted Dutch landscapes in today's serie.

  27. Lovely seeing all of the paintings, my favourite is 'River Landscape'.

    All the best Jan

  28. Wonderful historical art work photos ~

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  29. I like the first one, of the Pope, and the lady with the fan, the most.

  30. @Janis: indeed!

    @Mari: thank you.

    @Ella: you're welcome.

    @Bill: thanks!

    @Marie: it is.

    @Lady Fi: definitely.

    @Jeanie: she is.

    @Jan: that it is.

    @Jan: it's a good one.

    @Carol: thanks!

    @Catalyst: I do too.

  31. You do spend a lot of time in museums, William!

  32. I'm with the others. I like The Young Woman with a Fan. What a complexion!

  33. Beautiful old masters William such a pleasure to see, merci beaucoup ✨

  34. Amazing to think how old those paintings are!