This painting, entitled Venus in the mirror, represents the classic image of naked Venus accompanied by Cupid. She is sitting in front of a dark red curtain, and her image is reflected in the eyes of the spectator. This work emphasizes the richness of detail, both in color and texture, used by the artist to create an impression of sensuality and luxury. It takes up a popular Renaissance theme, the motif of Venus gazing at herself in a mirror, a composition widely used by Titian and his workshop.
Painted at the beginning of the 17th century, the figure is seen from the front, her face turned towards the mirror and the body turned away to the left. This position, associated with the position of her hands, refers to the classic “Venus Pudica”, where one hand is placed to cover the chest and the other on the knees. This pose creates an impression of asymmetry and draws the viewer’s eye to these specific areas. The use of this pose allows the viewer to fully see the figure, while remaining demur, she is meant to be aware of the spectator but not directly, through the use of the mirror.
This piece comes from a disciple of Titian in the Venetian school and is similar to a work that is a highlight in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. This painting, entitled Venus in the Mirror, has served as the basis for many variations on the theme.
Specific decorative inclusions such as her jewelry also reflect her status as a goddess. Pearls, like the one she wears as an earring, were often used in the iconography of Venus to identify her to the viewer and to refer to her miraculous creation from water.

The artistic use of textile is an important aspect of this work, as the luxurious red fabric is used to contrast with the bright white of her skin. The inclusion of detailed embroidery on the fabric adds to the luxury of this image, which is meant to reflect the elegance of Venus.
One of the fundamental concepts of Renaissance production is the stylistic revival of classical imagery. This piece perfectly illustrates the references to Titian’s style, as it depicts Venus in the style of a classical sculpture, as she reaches to cover her chest. The conscious use of bare flesh while also partially clothed indicates the sensuality of the image that the painter is trying to evoke.
The work is also done in a similar style to a painting currently in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux and uses the same iconography to depict Venus as a modern, sensual figure. The use of a deep red pigment emphasizes the soft and opulent emotion that has been prescribed to this image.

Certificate of expertise and authenticity made by Mr René Millet.
( Dimensions without frame H111cm x 92cm )

Venus with mirror – Italy – 17th century

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