Venus and Cupid

A work made of pen and black ink on cream laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of pen and black ink on cream laid paper.

Date:

1789

Artist:

John Deare
English, 1759-1798

About this artwork

John Deare, one of the finest British sculptors of the late 1700s, was also a superb draftsman. Venus and Cupid is a highly finished study for a relief sculpture of the same subject (now lost). Consistent with his profession, Deare’s drawing technique is characterized by severe linearity, minimal shading, and a frieze-like arrangement of figures, as though the whole were carved from a block of stone.
Cupid holds an outsize butterfly, an allusion to his wedding to Psyche. In Neoplatonic philosophy, the butterfly signifies the immortality of the soul. Gazing intensely into Cupid’s eyes, Venus expresses maternal affection while at the same time registering an erotic charge.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

John Deare

Title

Venus and Cupid

Origin

England

Date

1789

Medium

Pen and black ink on cream laid paper

Inscriptions

Signed, dated, and inscribed, lower right, in pen and black ink: “J. Deare - June . 1789 – Rome”

Dimensions

276 × 304 mm

Credit Line

Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Fund

Reference Number

2017.283

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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