On 23 February, and 17 and 26 March 1630 the artist received sums amounting to 125 scudi from Lorenzo Fioravanti for a painting of Mars, together with its companion Venus and Cupid, which can probably be identified as these two pictures in Apsley House. Paired images of Mars and Venus were popular from at least the fifteenth century and celebrated the love affair between Mars, the god of war, and Venus, goddess of love and wife of Vulcan. Whilst Mars brandishes his sword and gestures as if departing, Venus, in the companion painting, appears to remonstrate with him. Concerning the warrior’s armour: the helmet and sword are both characteristic of the early seventeenth century, but the body armour, presumably intended to appear Roman, is purely imaginary.
Where to see this painting?
English Heritage, The Wellington Collection, Apsley House
Hyde Park Corner, London, Greater London, England, W1J 7NT
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.