DÜRER, Albrecht
(b. 1471, Nürnberg, d. 1528, Nürnberg)

Cupid the Honey Thief

1514
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 22 x 31 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

This delightful watercolour tells the story of Cupid, the god of love, who ran to his mother Venus, vainly trying to escape a swarm of bees whose honeycomb he had stolen. In his rush to escape, Cupid dropped his arrows. According to the fable told by the Greek poet Theocritus, in his Idylls, Venus laughs and says: 'Are you not just like the bee - so little yet able to inflict such painful wounds?' Cupid the Honey Thief was part of a series of watercolour illustrations of mythological subjects which Dürer painted in 1514.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 4 minutes):
Francesco Gasparini: The Meddlesome Cupid, aria