Venus & Cupid
Venus & Cupid; based on the classical marriage poems (or epithalamia) and was almost certainly painted to celebrate a wedding (the Venus may be a portrait of the bride). Lotto was fascinated with emblematic devices. The shell above Venus' head and the rose petals on her lap are conventional attributes of the goddess. The ivy is symbolic of conjugal fidelity while the myrtle wreath and brazier suspended from it are accouterments of the marriage chamber. Venus wears the earring and diadem of a sixteenth-century bride. Cupid's action, an augury of fertility, confers a mood of lighthearted wit on this most popular Venetian subject. Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480 – 1556/57) was an Italian painter, draughtsman and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian school, though much of his career was spent in other North Italian cities. He painted mainly altarpieces, religious subjects and portraits. He was active during the High Renaissance and the first half of the Mannerist period, but his work maintained a generally similar High Renaissance style throughout his career, although his nervous and eccentric posings and distortions represented a transitional stage to the Florentine and Roman Mannerists.