Apollo Magazine

Apollo Advent Calendar: Day 11

The acquisition of Veronese's 'Venus Disarming Cupid' for the Worcester Art Museum was described by the director as a ‘game changer’

Apollo is counting down to Christmas by celebrating some of the greatest acquisitions, gifts and bequests of 2013. We’ll take a closer look each day at one of the outstanding objects, works of art or collections shortlisted for the Apollo Awards Acquisition of the Year.

Worcester Art Museum, MA
Venus Disarming Cupid, c. 1555
Paolo Veronese (1528–88)
Oil on canvas, 158.8×138.4cm
Gift of Hester Diamond

The acquisition of this Veronese has been described by Matthias Waschek, director of Worcester Art Museum as a ‘game changer for our collection’. The institution has traditionally been stronger in northern Renaissance works, but Hester Diamond’s unexpected gift has shifted the focus to Italy – and Waschek could not be more delighted. ‘[It] reflects our desire to grow and expand the scope and diversity of the museum’s collection,’ he says.

In this playful painting, Cupid entreats his mother Venus to return his bow, which she holds out of reach. The figures – based on a Parmigianino drawing – are set against a dark background of sumptuous drapes, and have their source in the writings of the Greek rhetorician and satirist Lucian. Veronese returned frequently to the popular Renaissance subject, but only a few of his versions survive. Venus Disarming Cupid has been placed on display in ‘[remastered]’, the experimental new hang of the museum’s Old Master galleries, which opened in September.

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