PIERO DI COSIMO
(b. 1462, Firenze, d. 1521, Firenze)
Venus, Mars, and Cupid1490
Poplar panel, 72 x 182 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Despite the different datings they have been given the two panels (Death of Procris, and Venus and Mars) may have formed part of a cycle illustrating themes from ancient mythology. The long shape of the panels suggest that they may have decorated a cassone chest.
Another aspect of Piero's artistic personality is his ability to infuse his subjects with wit and fantasy. The subject matter is sensual in nature, with Cupid nestling beside Venus' breast near a long-eared rabbit, a symbol of sexual excess. The black and white birds down below seem to symbolize the lovers, Venus and an exhausted Mars asleep on the ground.
This panel may have been painted as part of a suite of marital furniture, such as a bedstead, hope chest, or frieze.