Lorenzo Lotto - Venus and Cupid
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, on view beginning November 18 2008 at the Metropolitan Museum, offers a unique look at approximately 150 art objects and paintings, dating from around 1400 to 1550, that were created to celebrate love and marriage
"It is unbelievable how much is spent on these new weddings…."
Leonardo Bruni, writing to Poggio Bracciolini on the occasion of his marriage, 1412
Key moments in the lives of Italian men and women in the Renaissance were marked by celebrations carried out with the greatest possible degree of magnificence. Of these, betrothal, marriage, and the birth of a child were of the utmost significance. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, on view beginning November 18 at the Metropolitan Museum, offers a unique look at approximately 150 art objects and paintings, dating from around 1400 to 1550, that were created to celebrate love and marriage. It includes exquisite examples of maiolica and jewelry given as gifts to couples, marriage portraits and paintings that extolled sensual love and fertility, such as the Metropolitan's own Venus and Cupid by the great Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto, and some of the rarest and most significant pieces of Renaissance glassware, cassone panels, birth trays, and drawings and prints of amorous subjects.
Art and Love in Renaissance Italy is divided into three sections: Celebrating Betrothal, Marriage and Childbirth, which features splendid wedding gifts such as maiolica decorated with narratives or portraits, rare Venetian glassware, rings (including one of the earliest known diamond wedding rings) and other jewelry, delicate gilded boxes, and costly painted cassoni, or bridal chests; Profane Love, which focuses on erotic, at times salacious, imagery treated in drawings, prints, and other objects created by some of the most celebrated artists of the time, including Parmigianino and Giulio Romano; and From Cassone to Poesia: Paintings of Love and Marriage, which shifts to nuptial portraits and paintings on themes of love that decorated bedchambers and private quarters. Here the poetic genius of Renaissance artists is on display with some of the most beguiling and sensual works by Botticelli, Titian, Lorenzo Lotto, and their contemporaries that were produced for marriages and as gifts for lovers.