Venus and Mars Embracing as Vulcan Works at His Forge
Enea Vico (Italian, Parma 1523–1567 Ferrara)
After Parmigianino (Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola) (Italian, Parma 1503–1540 Casalmaggiore)
Sheet: 9 1/16 x 12 7/8 in. (23 x 32.7 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949
Not on view
The beautiful Venus (the Greek Aphrodite) was oddly matched with the lame blacksmith Vulcan the Greek Hephaistos), a virtuoso metalworker who forged Cupid's potent arrows as well as the armor of the gods and heroes. When Vulcan learned of his wife's affair with Mars (the Greek Ares), he retaliated by fashioning a net of metal so fine that it could not be seen and laying it over a bed to trap the lovers. This print shows him crafting the invisible links, while Venus and Mars carry on, oblivious to his presence.
Signature: On window sill: AE. V. 1543; on floor: FRANC. PARM. IN.