The Birth of Venus

Alexandre Cabanel French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 811

The first version of Cabanel's Birth of Venus (Musée d'Orsay, Paris) created a sensation at the Salon of 1863, which was dubbed the "Salon of the Venuses" owing to the number of alluring nudes on view. The Salon picture was purchased by Napoleon III for his personal collection. In 1875, New Yorker John Wolfe commissioned the present, slightly smaller, replica from Cabanel. The composition embodies ideals of academic art: mythological subject, graceful modeling, silky brushwork, and perfected form. This style was perennially popular with collectors, even as it was challenged by artists seeking a more personal interpretation of truth to nature, such as Courbet.

The Birth of Venus, Alexandre Cabanel (French, Montpellier 1823–1889 Paris), Oil on canvas

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.