Cranach - Venus and Cupid as Honey Thief
Venus and Cupid as Honey Thief
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Museum Schloss Güstrow
22.11.2018 - 12:05
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Painting:
CDA ID / Inventory NumberDE_SMS_G199
Persistent Linkhttp://lucascranach.org/DE_SMS_G199
FR (1978) No.FR246A
Title:
Venus and Cupid as Honey Thief[Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Attribution:
Lucas Cranach the Elder [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Copy after Lucas Cranach the ElderKoepplin suggests it is an exact copy after a lost original [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19, 20]
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Dating:
1527[dated]
Owner / Repository / Location:
OwnerStaatliches Museum Schwerin, Kunstsammlungen Schlösser, Gärten
RepositoryStaatliches Museum Schwerin, Museum Schloss Güstrow
LocationGüstrow
Dimensions:
Dimensions of support: 83 x 58.2 cm [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Support:
Painting on Beech wood [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Signature / Date:
Artist's insignia at bottom left on the stump: winged serpent and dated '1527' [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Inscriptions, Marks, Labels, Seals:
- top: 'DVM PVER ALVEOLO FVRATVR MELLA CVSPIDE FIXIT APIS SIC ETIAM NOBIS BREVIS ET PERITVRA VOLVPTAS QUAM PETIMVS TRISTI MIXTA DOLORE NOCET' [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Description:
'Venus stands under an apple tree wearing a large purple red beret and a gold chain. She looks coquettishly out of the image, while Cupid looks ruefully up at her holding a honeycomb in his hand. In the background there is a wonderful alpine landscape and battling stags are visible. The ancient subject refers to Theocritus' Idyll. Venus cautions Cupid, who complains of having been stung by bees, that even the briefest lust for which he is responsible is associated with bitter pain. This is written in the text above, which was probably composed by Melanchthon. DVM PVER ALVEOLO FVRATVR MELLA CVSPIDE FIXIT APIS SIC ETIAM NOBIS BREVIS ET PERITVRA VOLVPTAS QUAM PETIMVS TRISTI MIXTA DOLORE NOCET.' [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
Provenance:
- acquired in 1851 from the estate of the Gallery director Friedrich Lenthe, Schwerin

[Cat. Schwerin 1990, 20]
Sources / Publications:
Reference on PageCatalogue NumberFigure/Plate
Cat. Schwerin 199019-20No. 7
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979No. 246A
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974656, 657No. 570Fig. 321
Exhib. Cat. Weimar 1972 BNo. 13
Lilienfein 1942Fig. 102
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1932204a
Heyck 190883, 112Fig. 66 p. 108
Flechsig 1900 A249, 268
Schlie 188222
Schlie 188318
Cat. Schwerin 1882No. 160
Prosch 186334 (III)
Interpretation / History / Discussion:
Although Cranach borrows the representation of the apple tree and the ornamentally stretched nude female figure against a backdrop of thick shrubbery from his depictions of Eve in the Fall of Man and despite the cautioning content Venus appears as a seductress. The strange position of the left hand was already represented by Hans Baldung Grien in his drawing of Eve from 1510 (pen and ink, Hamburg Kunsthalle). It recalls depictions of Venus with the brash Cupid within Cranach's oeuvre. [...]
The branch covering her [Venus'] vulva -visible on earlier photographs - was recognized to be a later addition (restoration of 1908?) and has been removed.
Numerous variants exist of which the Schwerin version features the earliest date. However Koepplin assumes that the version in the National Gallery, London (FR204K) was created as early as 1526 and that the painting in Schwerin is an exact copy of a lost original. The treetop laiden with apples associates it with the painting in London, a feature that is missing in the other variants listed by Friedländer, Rosenberg. The apple tree is also represented in the paintings 'Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg as St Jerome reading in a Landscape' (about 1527) and 'Samson and Delila' (1529), both painted around the same date.'

[Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19, 20]
Material / Technique:
  • Date: 01.07.2013
  • Technical examination / Scientific analysis
  • Infrared reflectography
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder - Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Museum Schloss Güstrow - Venus and Cupid as Honey Thief - Infrared Images
  • Underdrawing
  • DESCRIPTION

    - an underdrawing is not readily visible

    [Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2013]
    • photographed by: Gunnar Heydenreich
    • photographed by: Ingo Sandner
    Condition Reports:
    • Date: 1990
    • Later overpaint and retouching along the left edge, in the area of the joins and in the flesh paint. [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]
      History of Restoration:
      • Date: 1908
      • conservation treatment first recorded in 1908. [Cat. Schwerin 1990, 19]