This strange and erotic painting, was painted by, Angolo Bronzino somewhere in the mid 1540’s. Its obscure images, exaggerated poses, and graceful forms are characteristic of the mannerist period.
It is said to have been commissioned by Cosimo de Medici the Grand Duke of Tuscany, which was then given as a gift to King Francis, who was known for his “lusty appetites”.
This is a very dynamic and somewhat claustrophobic painting of an immoral, and incestuous act between Cupid and his mother Venus. Cupid is fondling his mother’s breast and appears to be squizing her nipple while kissing her on the lips.
The characters and the meaning of this picture have been debated amongst scholors for years. We do know from the shiny gold apple in her hand, that the woman is Venus, and that is the Golden Apple of Discord. We can tell the boy embracing her is Cupid by the quiver that hangs from his jeweled sash across his back, and the bald headed grey haired man, who is reaching across the top is, Father Time which, has been identified by the hourglass on the top of his shoulder. These are the only characters who can be positively identified. The rest of the content is merely speculated.
The reason I found this painting so intriguing, is since the content is so mysterious, I found it fun to be able to put my own interpretation on it. However it is said, that the little boy who looks as though he is getting ready to throw a handful of rose petals at the couple, is known as, Jest or, Folly and represents pleasure or joy. The figure behind him is much more complex and surprising. At first glance all I saw was the face of what seemed to be an innocent little girl, but if you look closely you’ll see her body is scaly like a reptile or a long snake tail. They say that since this figure seems to deceive us that she represents deception and has been identified by some scholors