Anchises major claim to fame in Greek mythology is that he was a mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite (and in Roman mythology, the lover of Venus). One version is that Aphrodite pretended to be a Phrygian princess and seduced him for nearly two weeks of lovemaking. Anchises learned that his lover was a goddess only nine months later, when she revealed herself and presented him with the infant Aeneas. Aphrodite had warned him that if he boasted of the affair, he would be blasted by the thunderbolt of Zeus. He did and was scorched and/or crippled.
Venus Grotto in Linderhof Palace gardens
Linderhof Palace (German: Schloss Linderhof) is a Schloss in Germany, in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey. It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.
The gardens surrounding Linderhof Palace are considered one of the most beautiful creations of historicist garden design, designed by Court Garden Director Carl von Effner. The park combines formal elements of Baroque style or Italian Renaissance gardens with landscaped sections that are similar to the English garden.
The building is wholly artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”. Ludwig liked to be rowed over the lake in his golden swan-boat but at the same time he wanted his own blue grotto of Capri. Therefore 24 dynamos had been installed and so already in the time of Ludwig II it was possible to illuminate the grotto in changing colours.
Domenicus van Wijnen
Astrologer observing the Equinox and a scene of parting Adonis and Venus (~1680)
This sombre scene, where the only light comes from the candles, the setting sun and the rising moon, is one of the most notoriously obscurely mysterious works. This type of rebus painting was particularly fashionable in the Baroque period, especially among Roman artists. The Dutch painter Dominicus van Wijnen, who assumed the name of Ascanius after moving to Rome and jointing the fraternity of Dutch painters there, painted a large number of complex depictions that pose great demands on the viewer’s erudition. The Wilanów painting, which is an allegory of the natural changes, depicts a young scholar wearing an Oriental turban (an astronomer or an astrologer, possibly a magus) lost in thought over a volume while observing an astronomical phenomenon. The scholar is visited by spectres of mythological lovers, Venus and Adonis. As decreed by Zeus, after Adonis’ tragic death they could only spend half the year together, during spring and summer. Adonis had to spend the remaining time in Hades ruled by its queen Persephone. The clasping couple symbolizes the autumnal equinox, the moment of the lovers’ parting and the coming of autumn and winter, a period of death in the realm of nature. Adonis’ return in spring would be marked by a renaissance, a joyous time of renewed vegetation and natural fecundity. Charon the ferryman of the dead comes from the otherworld to collect Adonis, depicted as a naked and winged man emerging from the waves of the watery main. The two skulls, one human and one animal, are symbolic of the ultimate end of all living creatures. The sculpted decorations of the antique monument bearing a vase and lit by the rising moon likewise allude to the myth of Adonis. The vase probably depicts the moment of the birth (return?) of Adonis, depicted as a small child being helped up by putti (symbolic of emerging from Limbo or the world of the dead. Below, the panel of the sarcophagus depicts a man held (or led?) by two unidentified males of different age, who are probably related to the allegorical meaning of the composition and may be Thanatos and Hypnos or two genii. Both scenes may allude to the ancient feasts of Adonis celebrated in West Asia and on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean (known as the “Adonies” or the “Gardens of Adonis”). In recent scholarship, attention has been drawn to a less well-known of the myth related in Macrobius’ Saturnalia and mentioned early in the 17th century by Karel van Mander in his commentaries on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, which Ascanius may have been familiar with. The pages in the open volume perused by the scholar contain a diagram of constellations corresponding to the autumnal equinox (Libra). This symbol is complemented by the accompanying constellations of Hades or the Ferryman, shown as Charon, and Venus and Adonis. Those constellations could only be seen in the Orient (in the so-called Sphera Barbarica). Thus, it becomes highly likely that the scholar depicted in the painting is one Hipparchus of Nice, an ancient astronomer who lived in Asia Minor.
John Deare – English, 1785 – 1787 – Venus Reclining on a Sea Monster with Cupid and a Putto
, the goddess of love and beauty, reclines on a fantastic goat-headed sea monster in this allegory of Lust. The goddess entwines her fingers in the creature’s beard–a so-called “chin-chucking” gesture that represents erotic intent–while the monster licks her hand in response. , astride the monster’s long tail, is poised to shoot an arrow at Venus, while in the background a putti adds to the amorous imagery by holding a flaming torch, undoubtedly meant to suggest the burning ardor of desire. The sea goat carries Venus through the frothy waves, carved with energy and precision.
John Deare displayed his great skill in carving a variety of levels and textures in this sculpture, from the low relief of the Cupid and putti to the smooth, half-relief of Venus, and finally to the sea-goat’s fully three-dimensional snout and wavy strands of hair. Deare’s depiction of Lust as a woman riding a goat forms part of an iconographic tradition that has been popular since the Middle Ages.
Hans Bol, 1859 – Landscape with the Story of Venus and Adonis
Hans Bol painted this unusualin two parts: the central landscape, painted on mounted on wood, and the framing design, painted directly on wood. Both parts tell the story of the beautiful youth Adonis from . In the main panel, and Adonis embrace before he leaves on the hunt shown in the distance, in which he is killed by a boar. Clockwise from left, the frame’s ovals show subsidiary incidents: mother Myrrha commits incest with her father; turned into the myrrh tree as punishment, Myrrha bears their son, Adonis; Venus is struck with love for Adonis; blood springing from the dead Adonis turns into the anemone flower.
In the frame, Bol combined the cartouches and trophies of a three-dimensional picture frame withborders reminiscent of . His materials–opaque color and gold paint on parchment–also follow the tradition of manuscript illumination.
In Greek mythology, Peitho is the goddess who personifies persuasion and seduction. Her Roman name is Suadela. Pausanias reports that after the unification of Athens, Theseus set up a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos and Peitho on the south slope of Acropolis at Athens. Peitho, in her role as an attendant or companion of Aphrodite, was intimately connected to the goddess of love and beauty. Ancient artists and poets explored this connection in their works. The connection is even deeper in the context of Ancient Greek marriage because a suitor had to negotiate with the father of a young woman for her hand in marriage and offer a bridal price in return for her. The most desirable women drew many prospective suitors, and persuasive skill often determined their success.
Aphrodite and Peitho were sometimes conflated to a certain extent, with the name Peitho appearing in conjunction with, or as an epithet of, Aphrodite’s name. This helps to demonstrate how the relationship between persuasion and love (or desire) was important in Greek culture. Peitho’s ancestry is somewhat unclear. According to Hesiod in the Theogony, Peitho was the daughter of the Titans Tethys and Oceanus, which would make her an Oceanid and therefore sister of such notable goddesses as Dione, Doris, Metis, and Calypso. However, Hesiod’s classification of Peitho as an Oceanid is contradicted by other sources. She is most commonly considered a daughter of Aphrodite. Peitho was the wife of Hermes, the messenger of the gods.
The Apartments of the Elements, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
The Apartment of the Elements consists of five rooms that were the private quarters of Cosimo I. The walls contain allegorical frescoes depicting Fire, Water, Earth and (on the ceiling) Saturn.
This is the suite of rooms that were used by Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleanor of Toledo while they lived at Palazzo Vecchio. They are ornately decorated in grand Renaissance style. Giorgio Vasari took over the decoration of these rooms upon the death of Battista del Tasso. This was his first commission for the Medici, beginning a long and very profitable relationship.