Venus and Cupido

Walter Crane (1845 1915)

Oil on canvas
Height: 43.5 cm
Width: 23 cm
Signed on lower left.: Walter Crane 62
Inventory Number
Purchased in 1979 with the support of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

As a successor to the Pre-Raphaelites, Walter Crane explores literary-mythological themes in this painting. It clearly recalls the Pre-Raphaelites’ striving for the true and beautiful in art and is close to their decorative-ornamental design vocabulary. Especially the Roman goddess of love Venus in the center of the painting reflects the ideal of female beauty and aesthetic of Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, from the bow-like lips to the classical style of hair and clothing. Crane aimed for the ideal of a Gesamtkunstwerk that would encompass not only the fine but the applied arts. As a skilled designer of wallpaper, fabrics, carpets and ceramics he had a decided influence on the vitalization and reorietation of handicrafts. He frequently designed ceramic tiles. The Clemens Sels Museum Neuss owns a significant example of this phase of Crane’s work with the series of personified flower depictions. Their design style stands for a new understanding of the decorative arts around 1900 and is an important example of the forwardlooking achievements and the high status enjoyed by British craftsmanship.


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