LISS, Johann
(b. ca. 1590, Oldenburg, d. 1631, Verona)

Venus in front of the Mirror

1625-26
Oil on canvas, 83 x 69 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Reared in the Dutch and Flemish school, a disciple of Hendrick Goltzius, Liss absorbed a wide variety of experiences in his youth; he acquired at the Haarlem school his zest for the popular approach to portraiture, with glowing colours and firmly clean-cut forms.

Coming to Venice in 1621, he probably met Feti, whose influence mellowed his painting and made for more richly-modulated colouring and light. The material has a fresh look, and is edged with "frills", thus ushering in the first dawning of the Baroque in Venice.

The Venus is a product of the artist's maturity from his Venetian period, which saw his attention turning from the genre scene towards themes of mythological inspiration. The sway and spell of his predecessors' artistry, in particular that of Veronese, as bred by the Venetian milieu is still there; but there is also a foretaste of that bucolic mythologizing which was a prelude to Sebastiano Ricc's pictorial "symphonies". The work is a link, then not only in the world of Venetian art, but in the painting of the whole of Central Europe.

The toilet of Venus is a timeless theme of sensuous seduction. You can view other depictions of Venus at Her Toilet in the Web Gallery of Art.