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Title: The Unseeing Masks: The Meaning of the Two Masks in Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Venus and Cupid of 1532-1534
Authors: Serraino Tatyana Kalaydjian Serraino 
Accessioned Date: 11-Mar-2022
Issue Date: 2019
Type: Volume a stampa
Related Event: Master of Arts in Art History 
Abstract: It is hard to ignore the satyr-like mask that ogles Venus and her son in Jacopo da Pontormo’s Venus and Cupid (1532-34) (Fig. 1), a painting based on a lost cartoon by Michelangelo (Fig. 2). Partly obscured by this mask, a more impassive mask faces the opposing direction, as if deliberately to evade the erotic interaction between the incestuous couple. Michelangelo was the first to introduce the motif of masks accompanying the goddess of love and her son, a motif that was soon replicated and elaborated upon by a number of sixteenth century artists. The masks themselves have received little attention in scholarly literature; they have typically been dismissed as symbols of love’s deceit. An explanation of how Michelangelo’s use of two masks accompanying Venus and Cupid was meant to be interpreted by the painting’s contemporary Florentine audience will argue for a more complex reading, and will question whether the masks were simply symbols of a single idea.
License: All rights reserved
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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