MAYER, Marie-Constance
(b. 1775, Paris, d. 1821, Paris)

The Sleep of Venus and Cupid

Oil on canvas, 97 x 145 cm
Wallace Collection, London

This painting follows a drawing by Prud'hon, Mayer's teacher and companion; it belonged to the Empress Josephine at Malmaison before being brought by the fourth Marquess of Hertford in 1856. Although the Marquess lived in Paris through one of the most eventful periods of French painting, from 1850 to 1870, his purchases were not adventurous, and reflected more the taste of a regular visitor to the annual Salon. The nineteenth-century pictures in the Wallace Collection were nearly all acquired by him.

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