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Title Venus and Vulcan
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist After Albani, Francesco (Italian painter, 1578-1660)
Previously attributed to French School
Date Earliest possibly about 1633
Date Latest possibly about 1700
Description This scene is a reversed copy of one of four paintings produced by Francesco Albani for Ferdinando Gonzaga in 1633. The series was devoted to Venus, goddess of Love. In this picture, she lies next to her husband Vulcan, while little cupids practise targeting Adonis's heart with new arrows. The painting is a fragment of a larger composition that included a group of cupids forging arrows on the left and Diana above warning them to abandon their pursuits.
Current Accession Number B.M.522
Former Accession Number No. 498
Subject mythology (Venus and Vulcan)
Measurements 81.5 x 114 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.

The original painting by Francesco Albani (Louvre, inv.10) was commissioned by Cardinal Ferdinando Gonzaga around 1633; this series was based on an earlier set of smaller dimensions painted by Albani in 1615-17 (Galleria Borghese, Rome). The reversed composition in the Bowes picture indicates that it was possibly copied from a print after Albani's painting.

H. C. Marillier has studied sets of tapestries made after Albani's paintings which were produced in Britain. They were woven either in Soho or Fulham, possibly in the 1750s. In at least one of them that was on display in Holkham in the 1930s, Albani's original composition for Venus and Vulcan was divided into two parts, corresponding to the couch and the forge. The former corresponds to the Bowes composition, and is also reversed in respect to Albani's original. A set of preparatory oil sketches for the tapestries was owned by Messrs Arthur Ackermann and Son Ltd when Marillier's article was published in 1930. Marillier, H. C., 'The Venus and Adonis Tapestries after Albani', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 54, no. 315, 1929, pp. 314-24.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón



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