Venus Marina, Cupid at Her Side

Benedetto Pistrucci Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 556

Amazingly, the relief’s surface is concave. Benedetto Pistrucci used his drill in a virtuoso excavation of the strata, employing the palest brown to outline the goddess’s shell and team of dolphins, shaping an exquisite bowknot from the foremost brown, and piercing the white layer perilously close to the black ground to define the sail-like drapery and dainty silken reins. The frame of about 1820–30 was later fleshed out with filigree.

Venus Marina, Cupid at Her Side, Benedetto Pistrucci (Italian, 1783–1855, active England), Onyx, gold, British, London

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