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Venus Typifying Spring, from The Seasons and the Elements series
Venus Typifying Spring, from The Seasons and the Elements series
Date:
ca. 1784
Location:
Not on display
Century:
Media:
Wool, Silk; Tapestry Weave
Dimensions:
357.3 x 281.9 cm (140 11/16 x 111 in.)
Object Type:
Country:
Continent:
Europe
Provenance:

possibly sent by Louis XVI to Prince Henry of Prussia, 1784

Accession Number:
1926.78
Acquisition Date:
1926-07-19
Credit Line:

Gift of Archer M. Huntington

Exhibition History:

Les Portieres des Dieux, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1972
New Look to Now, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, de Young Museum, 1989 - 1991
Gallery 9 Rotation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor, 1990 - 1991
European Masterworks from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Japan, 1992

A light portico resting on six slender columns forms the architectural frame for Venus, goddess of Love and Springtime. Lightly draped in rose, she floats on a cloud with swans beside her and Cupid nearby. In some versions, the head of the left swan is held high. Venus’s hair is dressed with pearls. She holds an arrow in her right hand. Garlands of flowers hang from the portico above her. There are many birds. Beneath the goddess a large vase of roses surmounts a fountain gushing from three dolphins. Cupids move toward the fountain on either side: one brings flowers and the other fills his watering can. The motive of watering cans reappears on the consoles with squirrels and birds. The sign of Taurus can be seen at the top of the panel. Tablets with the signs of Aries and Gemini dangle from the portico at either side, along with ribbons, rings, and arrows. Behind these fragile elements, the background simulates a damask pattern of flowers on a deeper shade of rose-crimson. From Anna Gray Bennett, "Five Centuries of Tapestry: The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco" (San Francisco: Chronicle Books; The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1976; repr. 1992): p. 244.