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Marte e Venere nella fucina di Vulcano

Francesco Albani (Bologna 1578 - 1660) Cerchia di

Francesco Albani (Bologna 1578 - 1660)
Circle of

Mars and Venus in the Forge of Vulcan (or Allegory of Fire)
from Ovid, Metamorphoses, book IV

Oil on canvas
53 x 72 cm.
in frame 62 x 82 cm.

The pendant of the present painting, depicting 'The Triumph of Galatea' is published at the following link
D23-024 Sold Request information

The beautiful painting on offer, depicting Mars and Venus in the Forge of Vulcan, can be attributed to a master adhering to the stylistic and compositional models of the Bolognese Francesco Albani (Bologna 1578 - 1660), presumably active within his close circle.

A disciple of Annibale Carracci, Albani is considered, together with Domenichino and Guido Reni, to be one of the leading exponents of Bolognese classicism, in great demand by the cultured patrons of the time.

Thanks to a style characterised by compositions of an idyllic nature and therefore pleasing to the most intimate taste of the patrons, the greatest output of Albani's workshop is to be found in mythological paintings rather than those with a religious theme.

The composition under examination draws inspiration, albeit with variants, from the Allegory of Fire/Allegory of Water, preserved in the Galleria Sabauda in Turin, part of a cycle of four tondi inspired by the Elements and executed by Francesco Albani between 1625 and 1628 for the superb collection of Cardinal Maurizio of Savoy (brother of Duke Victor Amadeus I), who had been fascinated by the Stories of Venus and Diana painted by Albani for Scipione Borghese before 1622.

These compositions enjoyed enormous critical acclaim and were extraordinarily praised by European collectors for their aesthetic and decorative value, in which myth and nature find full landscape ideality.

The painting depicts the adulterous love between Venus and Mars, as narrated by Ovid in his Metamorphoses (Book IV), with the two deities in the centre of the composition lying absorbed in a passionate embrace of love, shortly before the discovery of the adultery by Vulcan, Venus' husband.

The scene is set in Vulcan's forge, where a myriad of winged cupids are intent on preparing their arrows and forging the weapons that will pierce the defenceless hearts of their victims. On the left, a small group of cupids, having placed a heart and armour on trees as targets, are training.

As Ovid reveals, his wife's actions will be revealed to Vulcan through the denunciation of Apollo, the Sun god, who in our case could be identified in the figure above aboard his chariot.


The painting is sold complete with an attractive gilded frame and comes with a certificate of authenticity and descriptive iconographic card.
We take care of and organise the transport of the purchased works, both for Italy and abroad, through professional and insured carriers.

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