Italian ‘Mannerist’ painter Agnolo Di Cosmino or Agnolo Bronzino, generally referred to as II Bronzino, was born on November 17, 1503, in Florence. Bronzino was the pupil of Raffaellino and then the more renowned Pontormo, the primary influence in Agnolo’s life and his artworks, particularly his most famous painting, “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time.”

Around 1545, Agnolo Bronzino painted the ‘Allegorical’ work “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time,” on the instance of Cosimo de Medici, the Duke of Florence for presenting it to the Francis I of France. Where, silky textures & meticulously painted jewels in the painting display sophistication, the nudes in sensuous poses reflect the erotic tastes of the ‘Mannerist Period.’ The themes of this oil on wood painting, sized 57″ X 46″, are lust, jealousy, and deceit, with some of the figures subject to debate even today. People have also referred this painting as the “Triumph of Venus,” with its connotations unknown until date.

Flavored with ‘Symbolism,’ the key subjects of “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time” are Venus and her son Cupid, who are shown nude, entwining with each other sensuously, and bathing in while light. The couple symbolizes ‘Lust.’ Cupid is seen fondling Venus’ breast and kissing her lips. Venus is seen holding the ‘Golden Apple,’ she bagged as a prize from the ‘Judgment of Paris,’ and Cupid sports his wings and quiver. Cupid is seen as a youngster, notably older than the other versions of him, fit for making love to his mother.

Venus is portrayed as a young, beautiful woman in her twenties, exercising total sexual control of the scandalous situation. Venus’ doves can be seen on the lower right of “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time.” A nude boy, probably ‘Folly,’ is seen dancing happily and throwing flowers. The bearded, bald man to the upper right is probably ‘Time,’ owing to an hourglass imaged at his back. ‘Truth,’ positioned at the upper left, subordinates ‘Time.’ The old woman, shown tearing her hair is ‘Jealousy’ or ‘Envy.’ A young unidentified girl with grotesque body is depicted behind the nude boy. Her left hand is attached to her right arm and may be she represents ‘Deceit.’

Having spent most of his career life in Florence, Bronzino was living there with his favorite pupil Alessandro Allori at the time of his death in 1572. Agnolo Bronzino’s masterpiece “Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time” is presently displayed at the National Gallery, London, United Kingdom.

By arnia