Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan

Object Details

Title:

Venus and Mars Surprised by Vulcan

Artist/Maker(s):

Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558 - 1617)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1585

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, brown wash, white gouache heightening, and black chalk, folded into squares, incised for transfer, lower right corner replaced

Dimensions:

41.6 x 31.3 cm (16 3/8 x 12 5/16 in.)

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In the foreground, Vulcan has just pulled off the net in which he ensnared his wife Venus and her lover Mars; the other gods, called in by Vulcan, join in the ridicule from above. Seemingly without effort, Hendrick Goltzius integrated two groups of nudes in complex poses, filling out the composition with Cupid at the lower right and Vulcan forging the net in the background.

Goltzius made this drawing as a full-scale model for an engraving in the manner of Bartholomäus Spranger. Spranger's mythological compositions featured complex, erotic poses, and Goltzius adopted the style for a number of drawings and engravings. The engraving after this drawing, Goltzius's largest and most complex in Spranger's style, helped to secure his reputation on its publication in 1585. The inscription on the engraving, HGoltzius invenit sculpsit et divulgavit, confirms that Goltzius acted as designer, engraver, and publisher for the print.

Provenance

Lord Northwick, London

Private Collection

H.C. Valkema Blouw, Dutch, 1883 - 1953

Private Collection Dordrecht

November 2, 1920

Sotheby's (London), lot 157

June 5, 1946

Unknown (Beijers, Utrecht), lot 55

March 2-4, 1954

Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, lot 179

November 26, 1984

Sotheby's (Amsterdam), lot 29

Exhibitions
A New Acquisition in Focus: Hendrick Goltzius's "Sine Cerere et Libero friget Venus" (November 15, 1991 to February 2, 1992)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), November 15, 1991 to February 2, 1992
16th Century Northern European Drawings (February 18 to May 2, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), February 18 to May 2, 1992
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993) (52; Intro. by G.R. Goldner)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994) (88; Intro. by G.R. Goldner)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Dutch Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (August 16 to October 23, 1994) (88; Intro. by G.R. Goldner)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 16 to October 23, 1994
Figural Compositional Drawings from the 16th to the 19th Century (August 31 to December 8, 1996) (88; Intro. by G.R. Goldner)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 31 to December 8, 1996
The Body Beautiful: Artists Draw the Nude (1440 - 1880) (December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000) (88; Intro. by G.R. Goldner)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000
Hendrick Goltzius 1558-1617 (March 7, 2003 to January 4, 2004) (no.13, pp. 50-53; Catalogue by H. Leeflang, G. Luijten, et al.)
  • Rijksmuseum, (Amsterdam), March 7 to May 25, 2003
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), June 23 to September 7, 2003
  • Toledo Museum of Art, (Toledo), October 18, 2003 to January 4, 2004
Drawing the Classical Figure (December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009) (no.13, pp. 50-53; Catalogue by H. Leeflang, G. Luijten, et al.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 23, 2008 to March 8, 2009
Disegno: Drawing in Europe 1520-1600 (November 13, 2012 to February 3, 2013) (no.13, pp. 50-53; Catalogue by H. Leeflang, G. Luijten, et al.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 13, 2012 to February 3, 2013