The Rokeby Venus is a painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the
Spanish Golden Age, in the National Gallery, London. Completed between 1647
and 1651, and probably painted during the artist's visit to Italy, the work
depicts the goddess Venus in an erotic pose, lying on a bed and looking into
a mirror held by the god of sensual love, her son Cupid. Numerous works,
from the ancient to the baroque, have been cited as sources of inspiration
for Velázquez. The nude Venuses of the Italian painters, such as Giorgione's
Sleeping Venus (c. 1510) and Titian's Venus of Urbino (1538), were the main
precedents. In this work, Velázquez combined two established poses for
Venus: recumbent on a couch or a bed, and gazing at her reflection in a
mirror. In a number of ways the painting represents a pictorial departure;
through its central use of a mirror, and because it shows the body of Venus
turned away from the picture's viewer. The Rokeby Venus is the only
surviving female nude by Velázquez. The painting adorned the houses of
Spanish courtiers until 1813 when it was brought to England to hang in
Rokeby Park, Yorkshire. In 1906, the painting was purchased by National Art
Collections Fund for the National Gallery, London. Although it was attacked
and badly damaged in 1914 by the suffragette Mary Richardson, it was soon
fully restored and returned to display.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Diocletian became Roman Emperor, eventually establishing reforms that
brought an end to the Crisis of the Third Century.
Great Northern War: Swedish forces led by King Charles XII defeated the
Russian army of Tsar Peter the Great in the Battle of Narva.
While discussing how to promote the newspaper L'Auto during a lunch meeting
in Paris, sports journalists Henri Desgrange and Géo Lefèvre came up with
the idea of holding a cycling race that became known as the Tour de France.
Francisco I. Madero promulgated the San Luis Plan, starting a revolt against
President Porfirio Díaz that marked the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
Zarya, the first module of the International Space Station, was launched on
a Proton rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
conundrum (n) 1. A difficult question or riddle.
2. A difficult choice or decision that must be made.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Never burn a penny candle looking for a halfpenny.