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Venus Asleep

Tapestry Wall Hanging

This elegant set of Brussels tapestries were designed by Jan van Orley, the most famous tapestry artist of the day. They were made circa 1700-20, based on paintings by Francesco Albani, they depict the classic myth of love, lust and rejection between a god and a mortal.

Legend is that Venus, playing with Cupid, was wounded by one of his arrows. The wound was deep and before it healed she saw Adonis, and fell in love with him. Venus would follow Adonis, rambling through woods and over hills, dressed like Diana, the huntress.

One day, whilst sleeping, Venus dreamt Adonis had a hunting accident. She warned Adonis then mounted her chariot, drawn by swans and drove away through the air.

Adonis didn’t listen to Venus’s advice and whilst out hunting his dogs roused a wild boar. Adonis wounded the animal, but the boar drew out the spear and chased Adonis, eventually catching him.

Venus, in her swan-drawn chariot heard the groans of her beloved, and turned. As she approached she saw the lifeless body bathed in blood.

Venus Asleep shows Venus resting under a canopy surrounded by putti, possibly dreaming of Adonis. One of the putti plays with an apple, a symbol of love and fertility while Adonis is seen with a dog on a lead, as if about to set off hunting.

Finished Dimensions: 460 cm x 380 cm
Venus Asleep