Victor Wolfvoet
(Antwerp 1612 - Antwerp 1652 )
Venus and Adonis

Around 1619 Rubens painted this subject (2 autograph versions: one  in The Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, another in the Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf).  This work by Wolfvoet is an elaborated pastiche inspired by the masters' original. Although there is no evidence Wolfvoet studied in Rubens' workshop, he is most certainly one of the most devoted followers of the master. He added and placed the characters in a meticulous landscape. 
Wolfvoet was next to an excellent painter also an art-dealer. In his estate, he left a large collection of paintings, including twenty oil sketches by Rubens. It's not proven -but very likely- that he had direct access to Rubens' bozzetti and modelli.

This oil on canvas painting shows Venus accompanied by Cupid, embracing and pulling Adonis before he goes off to hunt. The artist uses specific colors, detail and strong contrast between light and dark to depict a dramatic and emotional scene. At the time Rubens created the original painting, the mythological stories (not only of Venus and Adonis) were popular in Renaissance and Baroque court art. Rubens was clearly inspired by the many existing depictions of this scene, in particular the famous Titian-composition of the same name, of which there are numerous versions.
This depicts the same moment of Adonis leaving Venus to hunt, despite her pleas to stay. He was killed later that day. 

We humbly thank Dr. Bert Schepers, confirming the attribution
70 x 105 cm (27 ¹/₂ x 41 ³/₈ inches)
Oil on copper
17th century


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Victor Wolfvoet