From the sixteenth century onwards, artists increasingly turned their attention to images of Venus. In their treatment of this great mythological subject, they also honed their skills in the portrayal of seductive nudes celebrating the beauty of the female body.
Few such paintings possess the multi-facetted complexity of Velazquez’ Venus at Her Mirror (better known as the Rokeby Venus), which has intrigued and challenged scholars ever since. Andreas Prater examines the many aspects and possible interpretations of this famous work, its lasting impact on the art of the nude and the enduring fascination it has exerted on the public. He looks at the painting’s interesting history leading up to its being slashed by a suffragette at the National Gallery in London in 1919 and its subsequent, painstaking restoration.
In this publication, the author places the Rokeby Venus in its poltical and art-historical context, comparing and contrasting it with works by Giorgione, Veronese, Titian, Goya and Manet.