Joachim Wtewael

Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan

223 voorzijde
223 detail signatuur en datering
223 achterzijde
223 ingelijst
223 voorzijde
223 voorzijde

Joachim Wtewael
Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan

1601 On view in Room 16

This meticulously painted little work is a typical example of the Mannerist style, which was in fashion around 1600. The style is characterised by naked figures in complex graceful poses. Joachim Wtewael painted this work on smooth copper, which lends itself well to painting fine details.

The painting depicts the adultery of Venus and Mars. Venus’ husband Vulcan – standing with his back to us on the left – has caught the couple in the act, and is exposing the deceit to the gods who have gathered around.

Technical details

Venus’s slippers

Wtewael also included a still life in front of the bed. It is made up of items of clothing discarded by Venus and Mars – as if they could not get into bed quickly enough. Lying there is Mars’s cuirass, together with his spear and sword. In the shadows close to Mars´s spear are Venus’s red slippers. For a 17th-century viewer, these slippers would have had an erotic meaning – they represented the female sexual organs.

Wtewael Venus En Mars Betrapt Door Vulcanus Detail Second Canvas
223 voorzijde

Joachim Wtewael
Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan

1601 On view in Room 16

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Details

General information
Joachim Wtewael (Utrecht 1566 - 1638 Utrecht)
Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan
1601
painting
223
Room 16
Material and technical details
oil
copper
15.7 x 20.8 cm
Inscriptions
middenonder: IOACHIM WTE / WAEL [F]ECIT 1601

Origin

(?) Melchior Wijntgis, Middelburg, 1604; Prince William V, the Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn, 1757; transferred, c.1822