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Venus and Cupid

Boldrini produced wood engravings after various artists, but he is best known for his prints after the designs of the Venetian master Titian, with whom he had a direct relationship. This depiction of Venus with her son Cupid in a woodland setting recalls the story of her first encounter with Adonis, as retold in Ovid’s Metamorphosis. However, since one of the main characters is absent from the scene, it has also been interpreted as an allegory of the love between a mother and child. Another explanation may be that it was based a partial image. Titian is believed to have given Boldrini a drawing of a figure group—rather than a complete design for the woodcut—and the printmaker added elements of his own invention, such as the landscape and the little animals.

Nicolò Boldrini
Italian, ca. 1500–active ca. 1530–70
after Titian
Venetian, ca. 1488–1576
Venus and Cupid
1566
Woodcut on paper (based on the key block for a chiaroscuro woodcut)
Image/sheet: 11 15/16 x 9 1/16 in. (30.3 x 23.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 71.2.2