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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

29: Spring with Venus and Cupid

Spring with Venus and Cupid, from The Four Seasons Shown semi-naked with spring flowers and doves, Venus, goddess of love, personifies Spring. She gently restrains her son, Cupid, eager to let loose his love arrows and cause havoc. To the right, a country house dominates the background, with servants sowing its kitchen garden while a maid milks a cow in the foreground – all suggestive of abundance and fertility. To the left, fishing and hunting take place. The Zodiac signs governing the spring months – Aries, Taurus, and Gemini – hover overhead, but in reverse order here as one reads from left to right, indicating the drawing’s purpose as a model for an engraving.

Maarten de Vos (1532 – 1603) Antwerp, Belgium, 1587 Brown ink and brown wash, with touches of white and traces of black chalk on paper (stylus work) Founder’s Bequest, 1816 (3708)

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