Euphrosyne complaining to Venus of the Wound caused by Cupid’s Dart
||1793 (signed and dated) - 1796 (exh at RA)
||Oil on canvas
||2464 x 1651 mm (97 x 65 in)
|Place of origin
This picture, and its companion piece, ‘Bacchus and Ariadne’, represent the theme of love lost and found, as well as the painful pleasure that love can inflict. Euphrosyne was one of the Three Graces, who is shown here complaining to Venus that Cupid (Venus’s child) has wounded her hand with one of his arrows. Venus defends him, and so continues Cupid’s mischievous and humorous teasing of the Graces.
The picture was commissioned by Thomas Noel Hill, 2nd Lord Berwick (1770 – 1832), whilst he was in Rome. The subject may have been chosen by his travelling companion, Dr Edward Clarke. It was taken from ‘Le Grazie Vendicate’ (Defence of the Graces) by Metastasio (1698 – 1782). The theme of the companion picture was taken from Ovid, so the pictures were also a pictorial representation of the debate on the comparative merits of classical and modern verse.
Oil painting on canvas, Euphrosyne complaining to Venus of the Wound caused by Cupid’s Dart by Angelica Kauffman (Chur 1741 – Rome 1807), signed and dated: Angelica Kauffmañ Pinx: Romae 1793. Psyche on the left in blue drapery shows Venus, dressed in white and seated on a couch, the wound inflicted by the smiling Cupid. Companion to 'Bacchus and Ariadne' by Angelica Kauffman.
Lord Berwick was in Rome in 1792-93 with the mineralogist and traveller Edward Clarke (1769 - 1822), who related that 'Lord Berwick is employing Angelica Kauffmann in painting and I am now selecting passages from the poets for her to paint for his house at Attingham'.
2nd Lord Berwick collection: Thomas Noel Hill, 2nd Baron Berwick (1770 – 1832); 1913 Inventory p.80; No.60 in 1928 Attingham Picture Catalogue. By descent bequeathed to the National Trust with the estate, house and contents of Attingham by Thomas Henry Noel-Hill, 8th Baron Berwick (1877-1947) on 15th May 1953.
Marks and inscriptions
Angelica Kauffmann Pinxit Romae 1793 (signed and dated on plinth at left)
Makers and roles
Angelica Kauffman RA (Chur 1741 – Rome 1807), artist