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Statuette - Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 4

Bronzes often exist in a number of versions, made over many decades or even centuries. This is achieved through a variety of means, such as changes in the wax, new moulds taken from an existing bronze or the reuse of the existing model.This statuette of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and fertility, restraining the beautiful youth Adonis and (inv.no. A.118-1910) were probably cast from the same moulds. Fanelli varied the composition of his small bronzes by making changes to the wax. There are a number of small differences between these two groups, particularly in the dogs on the left and the slain boars on the right.
Venus, the Roman goddess of Love and Fertility and mother of Cupid, fell in love with Adonis after being accidentially grazed Cupid's arrow. Adonis was killed by a wild boar while out hunting and is usually shown with his hounds and prey.

Physical description

Venus, semi-nude and seated on a tree-trunk (?), grasps Adonis, dressed in hunting gear with two hounds, around the waist and gazes up at him lovingly.

Place of Origin

London (made)


ca. 1640 (made)


Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 15.2 cm

Object history note

Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A., 1956.

Historical context note

A version of this composition was among the small-scale sculpture placed on the window sills of the throne room at Whitehall in the 1640s.

Descriptive line

Statuette, bronze, Venus and Adonis, workshop of Francesco Fanelli (active 1609-1665), Anglo-Italian, ca. 1640

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

Penny, Nicholas. Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Vol III, Oxford, 1992, p. 62
Trusted, Marjorie, ed. The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture. London: 2007, p. 58, pl. 93

Production Note





Bronze; Myths & Legends; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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