Angelo Bronzino: An Allegory with Venus and Cupid (1545)

(National Gallery, London, UK)

An erotic and very complicated painting. There are in total 7 persons present on the painting. The woman in the front is Venus, she holds the golden apple which she won in the Judgement of Paris in her left hand. The person kissing her is her son Cupid. He has his wings and his quiver. The small boy to their left is a putto who is about to throw rose leafs to the couple. He is identified as Folly. The old man in the top right is perhaps Time because there is a hourglass behind him. The identities of the 3 remaining persons are unknown. The woman top left could be Oblivion - she lacks substance and has a mask like face (notice also the 2 masks in the bottom left) or perhaps Truth?. The woman rending her hair could be jealousy while the woman at the right of the putto could be Pleasure. So what does this all mean? Lust, Deceit, Jealousy, Folly, Time all in one painting. There is no consensus of the meaning of the painting - if there is one. The painting is done in the Mannerism style. Painting from 1545.

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