“Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas”
by François Boucher
“Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas” by François Boucher depicts the god of the forge from ancient Roman myth, presenting the Roman goddess of love, with a sword for Aeneas, her son. It depicts a muscular Vulcan with a blacksmith’s hammer and tools, on the ground in the right, offering up to the more celestial Venus the weapons he has forged for her son, the Trojan hero and the ancestor of Romulus and Remus, who founded ancient Rome. The artist, Boucher, created this theme as the basis for one of a set of tapestries on “The Loves of the Gods”.
Boucher is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes and decorative allegories. He was perhaps the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the 18th century. This painting is typical of the Rococo taste and reflects the Boucher’s powers of imagination. Some of François Boucher works laid the groundwork for the composition of tapestry cartoons. François Boucher was the art director of the Gobelins tapestry manufactory from 1755 to 1770
Vulcan was the god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes, metalworking, and the forge in ancient Roman religion and myth. His Greek counterpart is Hephaestus, the god of fire and smithery. Vulcan belongs to the most ancient stage of Roman religion.
Venus is a Roman goddess, whose functions encompassed love, beauty, desire, sex and victory. In Roman mythology, she was the ancestor of the Roman people through her son, who survived the fall of Troy and fled to Italy. Julius Caesar claimed her as his ancestor. Venus was central to many religious festivals and was revered in Roman religion under numerous cult titles.
The Romans adapted the myths and iconography of her Greek counterpart Aphrodite for Roman art and Latin literature.
In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero, who was a crucial character in Greek mythology and is in Homer’s Iliad. Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology, where he is cast as an ancestor of Romulus and Remus. He became the first true hero of Rome.
“The Loves of the Gods” Tapestries
“The Loves of the Gods” is a set of Tapestries pieces, which in winter adorned the bedchamber of the Duchess of Bourbon. Each piece in the collection shows a scene involving a god or goddess. The other pieces depict Vertumnus and Pomona, Venus rising from the waves, Aurora and Cephalus. The set of tapestry was produced by the Gobelins tapestry workshop. The set was broken up and sold in a Revolutionary auction in 1793, but can now be seen at the Louvre Museum.
François Boucher was a French painter who worked in the Rococo style. Boucher is known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings and was perhaps the most celebrated painter and decorative artist of the 18th century. Boucher often took inspiration from Peter Paul Rubens and Antoine Watteau and importantly, for the time, Marquise de Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XV), was a great admirer of his work. As a result, Boucher painted several portraits of his patroness, Madame de Pompadour, who is often called the “godmother of Rococo.”
Rococo or “Late Baroque”, was an exuberantly decorative 18th-century European style that exaggerated the principles of illusion and theatricality, an effect achieved by ornament, asymmetry, fluid curves, and the use of pastel colours with gilding. The Rococo style of architecture and decoration began in France, in the reign of Louis XV as a reaction against the more formal and geometric.
Portrait of Madame de Pompadour
- Title: Portrait of Madame de Pompadour
- Artist: François Boucher
- Date: 1756
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 212 × 164 cm (83.4 × 64.5 ″)
- Museum: Alte Pinakothek, Munich
- Artist: François Boucher
- Born: 1703 – Paris, Kingdom of France
- Died: 1770 (aged 66) – Paris, Kingdom of France
- Nationality: French
- Movement: Rococo
- Notable work:
- A Rococo artist can’t draw straight lines. Does that require more imagination?
Explore the Louvre
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- “Vulcan Presenting Venus with Arms for Aeneas” by François Boucher
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“This vision is within our grasp.”
– Francois Boucher
Photo Credit 1) François Boucher [Public domain]