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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Venus and Adonis

Photo: Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART

Venus and Adonis


Paolo Veronese and workshop

Italian, 1528-1588

Shot by an arrow from Cupid’s quiver, Venus falls in love with the hunter Adonis. In coming together they leave behind something of their inherent natures—Venus, otherwise devoted to tending her beauty, enjoys life in the outdoors while Adonis succumbs to harmonious domestic life. This brief interlude will be cut short, however, when Adonis follows his true nature and returns to the hunt, only to be killed by a wild boar.

Veronese’s large, richly colored decorations were fashionable throughout Europe. To meet the steady demand, he ran a family workshop that included his brother, sons and others. Recent technical study and conservation have led to the conclusion that this painting is a collaboration between the master and his workshop.
Oil on canvas
88 3/8 x 66 1/4 in. (224.4 x 168.3 cm)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Provenance: Monseigneur de Housset, French Ambassador in Venice, by 1648 (possibly by 1646); Pierre-Louis-Paul Randon de Boisset (1708-1776), Receveur General des Finances, Paris; [Randon de Boisset estate sale, Remy’s, Paris, February 27, 1777, no. 8 [1]; purchased from sale by Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun (1748-1813), Paris; Sir Francis Cook (1844-1920), 2nd Bart., Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, England (published catalogue, 1903, p. 40, as studio of Veronese; T. Borenius ed., vol. 1, 1913, no. 175, as school of Veronese; M.W. Brockwell ed., 1932, p. 82, as school of Veronese, possibly Carlo Caligari); by inheritence to Sir Herbert Frederick Cook (1868-1939), 3rd Bart., Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, England; [Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi, Rome-Florence]; purchased from Contini Bonacossi by Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, July 11,1948; Seattle Art Museum, since 1954, accessioned 1961 (exhibited Art Treasures for America, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., December 10, 1961-February 4, 1962, no. 99, as Veronese) [1] Sold for 2401 livres
Photo: Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryWashington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Art Treasures for America from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Dec. 10, 1961-Feb. 4, 1962. Cat. no. 99.

Sarasota, Fl. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, The State Art Museum of Florida, Florida State University, Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice, Dec. 7- Apr. 14, 2012. Text by Virginia Brilliant and Fredrick Ilchman. Cat. no. 70, p. 236.

Published ReferencesBlanc, Charles. Histoire des peintres de toutes les ecoles—ecole venitienne. Paris, France: Librairie Renouard, 1883-1884; p. 22.

Caliari, Pietro. Paolo Veronese, Sua Vita e Sue Opere. Rome, Italy: Forzani EC, 1888; p. 221.

Remy, Pierre. Catalogue des Tableaux et Dessins Precieux des Maitres Celebres des Trois Ecoles, … et autres objets du Cabinet de Feu M. Randon de Boisset, Receveur General des Finances. Auction cat. Sale Feb. 27, 1777. Paris, France: Chez Musier, 1777; p. 5, no. 8.

Borenius, Tancred. Catalogue of the Paintings at Doughty House, Richmond, and Elsewhere in the Collection of Sir Frederick Cook, Vol. I. London, England: William Heinemann, 1913; no. 175, p. 198 (attributed to Paul Veronese (School of) without any history).

Ridolfi, Carlo. Le meraviglie dell’arte ovvero le vite degli illustri pittori veneti e dello stato. Berlin, Germany: Grote, 1914; pp. 336-337.

Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, in the Collection of Sir Herbert Cook. London, England: 1932; p. 72, no. 175 (as “P. Veronese (School of) Venus and Mars, formerly called Venus and Adonis. Possibly by Carlo Cagliari”).

Fiocco, Guiseppe. Paolo Veronese. Rome, Italy: Casa Editrice d’Arte, Valori Plastici, 1954; p. 121.

Suida, William and Richard Fuller. European Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1954; pp. 52-55, reproduced pp. 53, 55.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, Vol. I. New York: Phaidon Press, 1957; p. 136.

Marini, Remigio and Sylvie Béguin. Tout l’oeuvre peint de Veronese. Paris, France: Flammarion, 1968/1970; no. 200.

Christensen, Erwin Ottomar. A Guide to Art Museums in the U.S. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1968; no. 456.

Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Italian Schools XVI-XVIII Century. London, England: Phaidon Press for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1973; pp. 41-42, reproduced fig. 75.

Pignatti, Terisio. Veronese: Volume Primo. Venice, Italy: Alfieri Edizioni d’Arte, 1976; no. 249.

Badt, Kurt. Paolo Veronese. Köln, Germany: Lorenz Dittman/DuMont Buchverlag, 1981; no. 205.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. Veronese. Milan, Italy: Arnoldo Modadori Editore, 1984; pp. 129-130.

Pignatti, Terisio and Pedrocco, Filippo. Veronese: Tomo Primo. Milan, Italy: Electa, 1995; p. 317, 380-381, no. 267, reproduced p. 380.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1997; fig. 35, pp. 56-59.

Dorman, Nicholas and Katie Patton. “Materials, Technique, and the Master’s Hand: The Seattle Venus and Adonis.” In Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice. Exh. Cat. Edited by Virginia Brilliant with Frederick llchman. Sarasota, Fl.: The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, The State Art Museum of Florida, Florida State University, in Association with Scala Publishers, 2012; pp. 235-43.

Patton, Katie. “Veronese and his Workshop: The Case of the Seattle Venus and Adonis.” Master’s thesis, New York University Institute of Fine Arts, 2012.

Látka, Peter. “’All Adonises Must Die’: Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and the Episodic Imagery.” In Shakespeare and the Visual Arts ed. Michele Marrapodi. London, England: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017; p. 66, reproduced fig. 3.3.

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