- Gallery Text
Breenbergh specialized in paintings of Italianate landscapes with shepherds or small figures that enact scenes from the Bible or classical mythology. Here he represents an episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Adonis, the mortal paramour of Venus, the goddess of love, ignored her plea to refrain from hunting dangerous game and was then gored by a wild boar. Conveyed to the scene by her swan-drawn chariot, Venus and her son, Cupid, grieve over the dying youth. She memorialized him by creating the anemone, one of her sacred flowers, from his blood, and the hemorrhaging wound is accordingly a focal passage of the picture. A drawing by Breenbergh of a nude male, which served as a model for the figure of Adonis, is also in the Harvard Art Museums’ collections.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Bartholomeus Breenbergh, Dutch (Deventer, Netherlands 1598 - 1657 Amsterdam, Netherlands)
- Venus Mourning the Death of Adonis
- Work Type
- Creation Place: Europe, Netherlands
- Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
View this object's location on our interactive map
- Physical Descriptions
- Oil on panel
- 38.4 x 49.4 cm (15 1/8 x 19 7/16 in.)
framed: 54.5 × 64.5 × 6.4 cm (21 7/16 × 25 3/8 × 2 1/2 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- Signed: BB f., Signed Date: 1646
- [Silvano Lodi, Lugano, by 1970]. [Bruno Meissner, Zurich]. [Bob Habdolt & Co., Paris and New York, by 1985], sold; to a private collector by 1989 [with "Reclining Male Nude"]. Vermeer Associates Ltd. [through Sotheby's, New York, 1995, Sale 6654, lot 66], sold; to Harvard Art Museums, 1997.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Kate, Maurice R., and Melvin R. Seiden Special Purchase Fund, Janine Luke, The Louis Agassiz Shaw Bequest, and William and Ami Danoff in honor of Seymour Slive
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
- Publication History
Advertisement for Galerie Bruno Meissner, Tableau, Tableau Fine Arts Media (Amsterdam, December 1981 - January 1982), vol. 4, no. 4, p. 251, repr.
Marcel Roethlisberger, Bartholomeus Breenbergh: The Paintings, Walter de Gruyter and Co. (Germany, 1981), p. 86, cat. no. 219
Important Old Master Paintings Sale 6654, auct. cat., Sotheby's, New York (New York, January 12, 1995), lot no. 66, repr.
Stephanie Dickey, "The Line on Old Masters", Art & Antiques (February 1998), vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 79-83, p. 79, color repr.
James Cuno, ed., A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, Mass., Spring 2000), pp. 48-49, repr. p. 49
Annemarie Stefes, Niederländische Zeichnungen 1450-1850: Kupferstichkabinett der Hamburger Kunsthalle, ed. Andreas Stolzenburg and Hubertus Gaßner, Böhlau Verlag (Cologne, 2011), vol. 1, p. 82, under cat. no. 33 (n. 13)
Singular Vision: Haboldt & Co.'s Old Master Paintings and Drawings since 1983, auct. cat., Bob P. Haboldt & Co. (Amsterdam, New York, and Paris, 2012), p.10
Ger Luijten, Peter Schatborn, and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art and Skira (Washington, DC, 2016), cat. no. 57, pp. 151, 153, 279, repr. p. 153
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 64, under cat. no. 13, repr. fig. 1
- Exhibition History
HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 08 Rotation 2), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/23/2008 - 11/16/2008
HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 09 Rotation 2), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/16/2009 - 11/08/2009
32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/17/2018 - 09/25/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/2019 - 01/01/2050
Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 10/04/2016 - 01/02/2017; Fondation Custodia, Paris, 02/03/2017 - 05/07/2017
- Related Works
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