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Lorenzo di Credi’s Venus

September 15–December 9, 2001

In conjunction with Philadelphia’s Splendor of Florence Festival (October 10–14, 2001), a major Renaissance painting, Venus, by Florentine artist Lorenzo di Credi (about 1456–1536) will be on view at the museum. This important loan from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy has been secured to coincide with Power and Glory: Medici Portraits from the Uffizi Gallery, an exhibition of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian paintings at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (September 15–December 9, 2001), and to complement the collection of Florentine art on permanent view at the museum.

The goddess of love to the ancient Romans, Venus had much appeal in Renaissance Florence when Humanist writers and artists vied to create a canon of ideal female beauty. Measuring nearly five and a half feet tall, Lorenzo di Credi’s Venus (about 1490) was lost for several centuries until the mid-1800s, when the painting was found in a back room of a villa once belonging to the wealthy Medici family, the one-time rulers of Florence. The painting was most likely commissioned by a family member or associate of Lorenzo de’ Medici (about 1449–1492), who encouraged a flowering of the arts in Florence and was himself an accomplished writer of love poetry.

This work was first seen by the public in the Uffizi Gallery, Italy’s foremost museum of Italian Renaissance painting, and has not been on view in the United States until now.

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Carl Strehlke, Adjunct Curator, John G. Johnson Collection, European Painting before 1900

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