barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Cristofano Robetta (1462 – after 1534)

Allegory of the power of love

Florence, about 1500-20

Engraving

302 x 280 mm

 

In this complex but beguiling allegory of the vanity of carnal love, the nudity of the figures is integral to the subject. In the centre is a male ‘captive of love’ embracing a female personification of Voluptas (Pleasure). On the right, next to a pair of lovers, Vanity is indicated by the putto who points towards and tramples on a skull; while on the left, beside a man representing Fate, the putto holding two poppy blossoms may be Hypnos (Sleep). The fabric floating between the bodies emphasises their nudity and alludes to the emotional and physical ties of love.

Purchased 1955 (No.55.18)

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