Antoine Coypel

France, b.1661, d.1722 (Attributed to)

Venus and Adonis

  • Purchased, 1975
  • Oil on copper
  • 426 x 550mm
  • 75/40

According to legend, Venus fell deeply in love with Adonis after being grazed by Cupid’s arrow. In this work Antoine Coypel depicts her trying to discourage Adonis from going on a hunt for wild boar that, indeed, turns out to be fatal. Coypel has painted this work with meticulous attention to detail. The copper surface allows great control over paint, allowing a smoothness that is difficult to replicate on a canvas support. Coypel’s father, Noël, and brother were also artists. Antoine travelled with his father to Rome in 1672 and began studying under his father and he was to retain a strong Italian element in his work throughout his career. Antoine’s most famous work is the ceiling of the Chapel at Versailles (1708),which was influenced by that in Il Gesù in Rome, painted by Giovanni Gaulli (Baciccio) (1639-1709). Coypel became Director of the Academy in Paris in 1714 and Rector in 1716. That year he was also made a court painter and he was ennobled in 1717.