Cupid, son of Venus and god of love, can make both men and gods fall in love with each other at will with his arrows, and thus embodies unbridled passion. His mother Venus is also among his victims, as he instigated a liaison between her and Mars, the god of war, in his usual way. She was caught out by the Olympian gods and ridiculed. As a punishment, Venus burned his arrows, tied him to a myrtle tree and whipped him with rose twigs. Figuratively, the theme here is the subjugation of passion.
For the figure of the venus as in "Venus Burning Cupid’s Arrows" (SK 543) Giovanni Francesco Susini took ideas of Giambologna's bronze of Fortuna – but adapted them to his style: instead of the multiple viewpoint adopted for their models, Susini concentrated on the front view for these compositions.
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Giovanni Francesco Susini
Venus Chastising Cupid, 1638
Bronze with gold-brown patina, traces of dark brown lacquer
height 58 cm
Signed and dated on the tree-trunk: IO.FR.SVSINI.FLOR.FAC. / MDCXXXVIII
Inv.-No. SK542
Provenance: listed in Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein’s Quardaroba inventory of 1658 with Venus Burning Cupid’s Arrows (SK 543)
Further works on display
Hercules and a Centaur, c. 1625/1650
Laocoön, 1625/1650
Venus Burning Cupid’s Arrows, 1638
Striding Horse, c. 1650
The Farnese Bull, 1625/1650
Striding Bull, c. 1650
Hercules and Antaeus, c. 1625/1650
David with the Head of Goliath, 1625/1630
Kneeling Woman Bathing, 1625/1650
The Saccomazzone Players, 1625/1650
Related themes
Bronzes from the Collections of the Prince von und zu Liechtenstein
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