CRESPI, Giuseppe Maria
(b. 1665, Bologna, d. 1747, Bologna)

Sleeping Cupids Disarmed by the Nymphs

c. 1720
Oil on copper, 53 x 75 cm
Private collection

The subject of Diana's nymphs disarming the sleeping cupids was undoubtedly inspired by a composition by Francesco Albani, Crespi's predecessor in Bologna. Known through two versions, one in the Musée du Louvre, Paris and the other in the Galleria Borghese, Rome, the subject seems to have been invented by Albani, who definitely included each of these versions in a series of four paintings of the story of Diana and Venus. Crespi also painted several versions of the subject.

Diana has sent her nymphs to harass the cupids as a means of seeking revenge against Venus. The nymphs are cutting off the cupids’ wings, stealing their bows and quivers and throwing their arrows into the fire. Symbolic of the struggle between the chaste Diana and the sensual Venus, this particular episode expresses the Triumph of Chastity over Love.