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Venus

Adriano de Giovanni de’ Maestri, known as Adriano Fiorentino, Italian (active Florence), c. 1450-60, died before June 1499

Geography:
Made in Italy, Europe

Date:
c. 1490

Medium:
Bronze

Dimensions:
Height (with base): 16 3/8 inches (41.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1930-1-17

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. George D. Widener from the Edmond Foulc Collection, 1930

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Label:
This statuette is a rarity—a signed bronze from the early Renaissance. It is inscribed underneath in abbreviated Latin: HADRIANUS/ ME.F. (Adriano/ made/ me). Renowned for his skill as a sculptor and bronze caster, Adriano worked throughout Italy and traveled as far as Germany to work at the court of Saxony. This statuette is one of the earliest bronzes of a nude female figure; it is also a technological masterpiece, cast as a single solid piece weighing fifteen pounds.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This Venus is a great rarity as both an early Renaissance statuette of a female nude and a work signed by the artist. Here the latinized name of Adriano Fiorentino appears on the underside of the base. The demand for such work was related to the renewed Italian interest in ancient Greece and Rome during the second half of the 1400s, spurred by the ongoing rediscovery of antique sculpture. Adriano may well have based the pose of his figure in part on a specific Roman antiquity. Nevertheless, his goddess of love standing on a shell does not imitate ancient sculpture but rather shows the influence of Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus from around 1486, now in the Uffizi in Florence. Adriano was famous for his expertise in casting bronze, amply demonstrated here in the flawless casting of the arms as part of the entire statuette and base. The sculpture's style is less unified, however, for the awkward lower legs and feet and Venus's rather mannish features are at odds with the beautiful form of her torso. Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 116.

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