Skip to main content

Diego Velázquez, The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus')

Key facts
Full title The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus')
Artist Diego Velázquez
Artist dates 1599 - 1660
Date made 1647-51
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 122.5 × 177 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Art Fund, 1906
Inventory number NG2057
Location On loan: National Treasures, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK
Collection Main Collection
The Toilet of Venus ('The Rokeby Venus')
Diego Velázquez

Venus, the goddess of love, reclines languidly on her bed, the curve of her body echoed in the sweep of sumptuous satin fabric. The pearly tones of her smooth skin contrast with the rich colours and lively brushstrokes of the curtain and sheets.

Venus‘ face is reflected in the mirror held up by her son, Cupid, but her reflection is blurred – we can’t see who she really is. Perhaps Velázquez wanted to make sure that Venus – the personification of female beauty – was not an identifiable person; we have to ‘complete’ her features with our imagination. Cupid’s face and far leg are very loosely painted and appear almost unfinished: Velázquez deliberately used a sketchy style in order to focus our attention on Venus.

This is Velázquez’s only surviving female nude and one of his most celebrated works. Its nickname, ‘The Rokeby Venus’, originates from Rokeby Park, a country house in County Durham, where the painting hung for much of the nineteenth century.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo