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Venus and Cupid in a Landscape

Venus and Cupid in a Landscape, c. 1515

Jacopo Palma il Vecchio
Italian, 1480-1528
Oil on canvas
35 x 65-3/4 in. (88.9 x 167.0 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Jennifer Jones Simon
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Palma il Vecchio shared, with Giorgione and Titian, the honor of modernizing and regenerating Venetian painting. Palma specialized in portrayals of women, showing them clothed and unclothed in half-length and recumbent poses. These were created expressly for private clients. Venus and Cupid in a Landscape illustrates this sensual side of Palma's art. The figure of Cupid was painted over sometime in the painting's history and was uncovered during restoration in the 1970s. The precise delineation of the flora and fauna and the cool blue tones of the landscape suggest that Palma was farmiliar with the works of Northern artists. The warm flesh tones and pale shadows of the monumental, sedate Venus serve as a sensuous foil to the sharply observed landscape.

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