The J. Paul Getty Museum

Mars and Venus

Object Details

Title:

Mars and Venus

Artist/Maker:

Attributed to Hans Mont (Flemish, born about 1545 - after 1585)

Culture:

Flemish

Place:

Flanders (?), Belgium (Place Created)

Date:

1580

Medium:

Bronze

Object Number:

85.SB.75

Dimensions:

53.9 × 37.2 × 25.9 cm, 28.5766 kg (21 1/4 × 14 5/8 × 10 3/16 in., 63 lb.)

See more

See less

Object Description

In this tabletop bronze sculpture, Venus, the nude goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war, tenderly embrace in a union of opposites. Although Hans Mont composed the statue with a dominant view of Venus from the front and Mars from the side, the complex entwining of the figures encourages the viewer to walk around them. Mont reveals the characters' personalities through the shapes of their bodies. Venus curves her elegant long limbs in an unfinished spiral around the more rectilinear posture of the muscular god of war. As is characteristic of Mannerism, naturalism is sacrificed for elegance of composition: Venus's forearms and wrists bend illogically as she wraps her long arms around Mars. While the figures' bodies express their emotional intimacy, their faces remain surprisingly impassive. The sculptor's choice of theme, the small-scale format, and the artist's use of bronze show the interest of artists and patrons in reviving the culture and art of classical antiquity, beginning in the 1400s.

Provenance
Provenance
1985

Mrs. Elisabeth Lederer (Geneva, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Bartholomeus Spranger: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague (November 3, 2014 to February 1, 2015)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), November 3, 2014 to February 1, 2015
Bella Figura: Europäische Bronzekunst in Süddeutschland um 1600 (February 5 to May 25, 2015)
  • Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Munich), February 5 to May 25, 2015
Bibliography
Bibliography

Weihrauch, Hans R. Europäische Bronzestatuetten (Braunschweig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1967), p. 512n395.

Heithorn, Uwe. Firnis und Patina: Studien zur Oberflächenbehandlung mitteleuropäischer Bronzeplastik um 1600. Ph.D. diss. (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, 1994), pp. 87, 249, fig. 50.

Berger, Ursel, and Volker Krahn. Bronzen der Renaissance und des Barock: Katalog der Sammlung (Braunschweig: Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, 1994), p. 170, under no. 132.

Lowenthal, Anne W. Joachim Wtewael: Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), pp. 45-46, fig. 33.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 35, ill.

Scholten, Frits. "Sextus Tarquinius en Lucretia, een model van Adriaen de Vries." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseu m 46, no. 1 (1998), pp. 7-8, fig. 5.

Sauerländer, Willibald. Die Münchner Kunstkammer. Dorothea Diemer, Peter Diemer, Lorez Seelig, Peter Volk, Brigitte Volk-Knüttel, et al., eds. 3 vols. (Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008), vol. 2, part 2, pp. 675-76, under no. 2218, entry by Dorothea Diemer.

Metzler, Sally. Bartholomeus Spranger: Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 34, 148, fig. 11.

Eikelmann, Renate, ed. Bella Figura: Europäische Bronzekunst in Süddeutschland um 1600, exh. cat. (Munich: Bayerische Nationalmuseum, with Hirmer, 2015), pp. 214-17, no. 22, entry by Dorothea Diemer.