Venus and Adonis

Object Details


Venus and Adonis


Simon Vouet (French, 1590 - 1649)




France (Place created)


about 1642


Oil on canvas


132.7 x 96.5 cm (52 1/4 x 38 in.)

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Venus, the goddess of love, and her lover Adonis meet each other's eyes, their bodies still half entwined. Holding his spear, the young mortal Adonis sits upright, anxious to be off to the hunt while his dog waits patiently at his side. Venus touches his shoulder, imploring him not to go. In so doing, she reclines slightly backwards as if to pull him closer. To her left a pair of doves, Venus's attribute, symbolize love and constancy.

Paintings like this one were popular with sophisticated art patrons in Paris, where Simon Vouet returned in 1627 after spending years in Rome. He absorbed the lessons of Italian Baroque painting and continued to use bright, decorative colors; Adonis wears a yellow-gold robe over a fuchsia-colored tunic and lavender sandals, and Venus is partially clad in a white undergarment and a subdued violet-blue robe. Her creamy white skin contrasts with the darker, smooth skin of Adonis, here depicted as an adolescent with rosy cheeks and a bud-like mouth.

by 1939 -

André Seligmann, French, died 1945 (New York, New York; Paris, France)

Baron Robert de Gendébien (Brussels, Belgium), sold to Frederick Mont, Inc.

- 1971

Frederick Mont, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.

The J. Paul Getty Collection (June 29 to September 3, 1972) (Cat. 53)
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (Minneapolis), June 29 to September 3, 1972
Baroque Masters from the J. Paul Getty Museum (February 26 to March 30, 1973) (Cat. 38)
  • California State University, (Northridge), February 26 to March 30, 1973
Simon Vouet (October 23, 1990 to February 19, 1991) (Cat. 57)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), October 23, 1990 to February 19, 1991
Faszination Venus: Bilder einer Göttin von Cranach bis Cabanel / Venus: Bilder einer Göttin (October 14, 2000 to August 15, 2001) (Cat. 40/28; Cat. 40 / Cat. 28)
  • Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, (Munich), February 1 to April 22, 2001
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, (Antwerp), May 20 to August 15, 2001
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    Audio: Venus and Adonis (Vouet)