Venus and Cupid

Venus and Cupid stand naked in a lush, mountainous landscape. A Latin inscription explains that Cupid has stolen a honeycomb and a bee has stung him. Venus’s elaborate headdress also displays a maxim in German, meaning ‘all is vanity’.

The message of the picture is therefore that life’s pleasures are fickle and brief, while pain is enduring. On the lower right the inscribed date of the work is combined with a winged serpent design derived from Cranach's coat of arms.

Key facts

Artist dates
1472 - 1553
Full title
Venus and Cupid
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on wood
38.1 × 23.5 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
A gift from the Drue Heinz Charitable Trust, 2018
Inventory number
Location in Gallery