Venus and Amor (Hans Holbein the Younger)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Venus and Amor (also known as Venus and Cupid) is a c. 1524 painting by the German painter and printmaker Hans Holbein the Younger, conserved in the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel, Germany. The work is Holbein's earliest mythological painting, and depicts the Roman goddess of love, Venus, with her son Amor (Cupid). They are shown in front of a large hanging green curtain and behind a low parapet. Venus is depicted with an open gesture and sincere gaze. Cupid is seen climbing onto the parapet while holding love's arrow in his right hand. He has red-orange hair, rendered in the same colouring and tone of the rich cloth sleeves covering his mother's upper arms.
Venus and Amor was painted after Holbein's return to Basel after a short stay in France. While in France, he had access to the collection of Francois I, and its believed likely that this work was one of his early responses to his exposure to the Italian painters of the era. Such influences can be seen in the gesture of Venus, whose pose closely echoes that of Jesus in Leonardo's 1498 Last Supper. In addition, her long, oval, idealised face seems closely modeled on Leonardo's depictions of the Virgin Mary.