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Venus, Wounded by Diomedes, Appeals to Jupiter

Jacques Louis David French

Not on view

In the waning years of Napoleon’s power, David found himself in an uncomfortable position: bearing the title "first painter," but lacking the influence that would typically accompany it. His efforts to obtain commissions for the decoration of imperial palaces were rebuffed, but his finished drawings from the time offer a window onto the evolution of his style.

By 1812 his art had become quieter and more contained. Here, he depicts the goddess Venus, injured by the Greek warrior Diomedes while trying to protect her son, the Trojan hero Aeneas. She has ascended Mount Olympus to show her wound to Jupiter and beseech his help. Her pose of humble supplication stands in contrast to the cool and judgmental demeanor of Juno and Minerva behind her.

Venus, Wounded by Diomedes, Appeals to Jupiter, Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, heightened with white, over black chalk

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