Description of the picture:
Allegory with Venus and Cupid – Agnolo Bronzino. Between 1540-1550
Bronzino served as a court painter at Cosimo I, the Great Baron of Tuscany. The painting, painted approximately in 1540-1550, is a masterpiece of contrast and intrigue, because here male and female figures of all ages are located in a shallow perspective throughout the canvas, which forces the eye to twist sinuously from one part of the composition to another. Together, these figures form an allegory dedicated to the destructive power of love.
In the center, a naked Venus squeezes a golden apple in her left hand – a merit that caused the Trojan War; with her right hand she disarms Cupid, erotically embracing her and almost crushing the dove of the world with her right foot. On the right, a playful little boy is about to shower them with pink petals, not noticing that he is walking on thorns, one of which has already pierced his right foot. Behind him, a beautiful girl holds out a honeycomb, but her generous gesture is a deception, because she holds the sting of her snake tail in the other hand.
In the background, the Elder-Time, who is being watched by a masked figure, carries his hourglass on his back and tries either to hide this group of figures or to reveal malicious forces hidden in them in front of the viewer; and on the left, the man clasped his head in his hands and groans in pain, tormented by madness.
Cheating. In the allegorical picture, Bronzino Deception, or Cheating, appears in the guise of a beautiful young girl, the lower part of the creepy body and the legs of a lion. Deception can also be depicted in a painting with a mask – for example, in the form of an old woman who put on the guise of a young girl.
Stupidity. In the Middle Ages, jesters were recognized “fools” under monarchs and nobles. In the painting by Giotto Stupidity (c. 1310), she is depicted as a fat young man in a crown of feathers and a torn tunic holding a club. In Bronzino, Stupidity is personified by a smiling boy with bells around his ankles, like a jester about to shower Venus with petals. The book of satirical poems The ship of fools (1494) by the German poet Sebastian Brant (1458-1521) describes how a bunch of all kinds of fools set sail for the Country of Fools without a pilot and maps. This satire on human sinfulness and stupidity has become the subject of many allegorical works, including the Bosch Ship of Fools (c. 1495)."