(b. 1560, Bologna, d. 1609, Roma)
Venus with a Satyr and Cupidsc. 1588
Oil on canvas, 112 x142 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Acquired in 1620 for the Medici collections, this painting, which was already famous in the 17th century, was for moral reasons covered over with another canvas of a more chaste allegorical subject through most of the 18th century. The recovery of the original in 1812 has restored to us a work of great importance in Annibale Carracci's youthful development. If we are to believe the date, 1588, written on the back of an old copy, the painting falls in a decisive year for the young painter: the time, that is, of his evolution from late Mannerist Bolognese culture, already enriched by Correggio, towards the colour-light sysnthesis of Titian and Veronese, from which would emerge the neo-Venetianism at the foundation of the Carraccesque "reform".
Venus's astonishing flesh tones blush voluptuously at her pressed glutei, a popular motif and proof of the painter's skill.