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Statuette - Venus and Cupid

Venus and Cupid

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1635-ca. 1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fanelli, Francesco (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 117, case 1

Venus the Roman goddess of love and fertility, was the mother of Cupid, the god of Love. The figures are seated on doplphins, referring to the birth of Venus from the sea.

Cupid is usually represented as a boy, often with the attributes bow, arrow and quiver.

The sculptor Francesco Fanelli was first documented in Genoa in 1608, where, until about 1631, he produced religious works in marble, silver, ivory and bronze. By 1635, he was working at the English court. Although he described himself 'sculptor to the King of Great Britain', it is unclear whether this title was officially conferred. The V&A owns versions of several small bronzes by 'ffrancisco the one-eyed Italian' listed in an inventory of Whitehall Palace in 1639. George Vertue stated that Fanelli 'lv'd and dyd in England'; he is last documented in 1641 and believed to have died soon after.

Physical description

Bronze statuette of Venus and Cupid. Both naked, they are seated side by side on two interlaced dolphins with wings for fins; she touches his elbow with her right hand, both have their faces turned upward and forward. The shallow bronze base is irregularly octagonal.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1635-ca. 1640 (made)


Fanelli, Francesco (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 20.5 cm

Object history note

Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Statuette, bronze, of Venus and Cupid, by Francesco Fanelli, Anglo-Italian, ca. 1635-40

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 8



Subjects depicted

Dolphin (animal)


Sculpture; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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