Fabrizio Chiari (1621-1695), after Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Venus and Mercury
Venus, the ancient Roman goddess of Beauty and Love, reclines languidly beside a golden chariot while Mercury, the Protector of the Arts, rests in the shade by her side. The soft plump curves of her body exemplify Renaissance ideals of beauty. In the foreground, Cupid fights with a small satyr. The battling pair represents the struggle between sacred and sensual love, emphasising the wholesome beauty of Venus despite her nudity. Chiari produced a number of etchings after works by Poussin, whose style also influenced the young artist’s early painting practice.