Friday, September 22, 2006
stories from the Met, part 1
Rubens married his second wife when he was 53. She was 16.
What a mack daddy.
Here they are with their fourth kid. They had five children together over ten years. The fifth child was born eight months after his death. As the tour docent put it, the two of them were "happy until the end".
He painted this portrait to honor his wife in every detail: the lighting, how perspective culminates at her face. I wonder how she felt living the second half of her life (26 through 53) without him.
Venus, goddess of love, is playing with her son Cupid. He shoots a golden arrow, which grazes her elbow. The arrow is magic, so now she's destined to fall in love with the next person she sees.
She looks down to earth, and sees Adonis. She falls head over heels for him. Flies to earth, seduces him. They spend some quality time together.
But he's young, and obsessed with hunting. One morning, he wakes up and decides it's time to HUNT! Here we see her pleading with him to stay in bed with her. He refuses.
She takes her chariot back to heaven (to get another change of clothes, take a shower in her own heavenly bathroom, etc). Through a break in the clouds, she spots Adonis getting killed by a wild boar.
Why, I wonder, didn't she just get Cupid to shoot Adonis with a golden arrow too? Then he'd be whipped, and wouldn't have left her for a stupid hunt.
But I guess she doesn't want to win his love through a manipulative love arrow. She wants to get it through manipulative feminine wiles.