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The picture under analysis is “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time” (also known as “A Triumph of Venus” and “An Allegory of Venus and Cupid”) by Bronzino, an Italian painter of Mannerism. The artwork was created about 1546 when Beonzino got a commission from Cosimo de Medici. This allegorical oil on wood painting was a present for the French king. The artist uses a perspective which allows placing different male and female figures, the meaning of which has long been discussed.

The subject matter of the painting is controversial. Venus, kissing Cupid and holding an apple in one hand and an arrow in the other, is generally explained as a symbol of beauty which is always accompanied by love. Their posture - figura serpentinata - is typical of Mannerism. An old lady with an apprehensive look is known as Jealousy, and a putto scattering flowers is obviously Folly. There is also Deceit represented by a figure with a beautiful face, body of a reptile and paws of a lion. Cronos, a bold bearded man, is holding a drapery which separates Venus and Cupid from figures behind. To the other side of the drapery, there is Oblivion, and it seems to be in conflict with Cronos. As a whole, the artwork shows how people in love can be blissfully ignorant to everything around them.

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Analyzing a cultural context of the painting, one can notice that Bronzino pays much attention to textile and jewelry, which reflects his aristocratic surrounding. Containing much eroticism, the picture would be a good present for the French king, famous for his lust and love to Italian art. It also represents features characteristic of Mannerism – the ambiguity of feelings and erotic and disturbing imagery.

In conclusion, Bronzino’s work “Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time” is an allegoric portrait of unchaste love. It contains a number of different characters which are very symbolic but whose meanings are hard to define. The work is designed as a puzzle and has elements of mythology, emblematic images and possesses distinctive features of Mannerism.

Code: Sample20

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