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Venus and Adonis

Giorgio Ghisi (Italian, Mantua ca. 1520–1582 Mantua)
After Teodoro Ghisi (Italian, 1536–1601)
ca. 1570
Sheet: 12 5/8 x 8 7/8 in. (32 x 22.5 cm)
Credit Line:
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1953
Accession Number:
Not on view
In his narrative poem 'Metamorphoses' Ovid tells us that Venus, grazed by Cupid's arrow, fell in love with Adonis and urged him not to hunt dangerous animals. Ignoring her advice, the handsome youth was killed by a wild boar. In antiquity, Adonis was worshipped as a god of the seasons who spent each winter in the Underworld and returned each spring, causing Venus, equated with the earth's fertility, to rejoice. In Ghisi's engraving, based on his brother's design, we see Adonis' dead body being nuzzled by the boar near a bare tree in the background. In the foreground, Adonis receives Venus' caresses in a verdant bower, his foot resting on the boar's head to demonstrate his victory over winter.
Inscription: Lettered within image in a tablet, lower left, 'TEODORO / GHISI / IN.' and with Ghisi's monogram '.G.MAF.'
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 9, 2012–March 25, 2012.

Boorsch, Lewis and Lewis no.42.ii; Bellini 1998 no.31.ii; Bartsch XV.402.42
Adam von Bartsch Le Peintre graveur. Vienna, 1803.

Suzanne Boorsch, R. E. Lewis Inc., Michal Lewis The Engravings of Giorgio Ghisi. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985.

Paolo Bellini L'opera incisa di Giorgio Ghisi. Bassano del Grappa, 1998.

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