30. 'An Allegory with Venus and Cupid' - Bronzino
WHERE CAN I SEE IT? National Gallery
I LIKE IT See also 'Cupid Complaining to Venus'
Charles Eastlake, the National Gallery’s first Keeper, appointed in 1843, sometimes let his moral zeal get the better of him. He has been held responsible for altering Agnolo Bronzino’s ‘Allegory’, covering up bottoms and breasts and vaginas here and there, all of which were unearthed when the painting was restored to pubic glory in 1958. But Eastlake did have a point. Venus is Cupid’s mum, although let’s not forget this is an allegory – and a pre-Freudian one at that. So what’s the idea? Alongside the Oedipal overtones, supporting figures embody a whole slew of emotions related to love: anger, jealousy, joy, and that girl angel at the back just looks a little bit bored.