(b. 1546, Antwerpen, d. 1611, Praha)
Venus and Adonis1597
Oil on canvas, 163 x 104,3 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
At the end of the 16th century the court of Emperor Rudolph II in Prague was one of the most important art and cultural centre of Europe. The Emperor gathered together important artists: painters, sculptors, goldsmiths, who developed a characteristic style as important as that of the Fontainebleau school flowered at the same period in France. One component of the Rudolphean style was the painting of the Flemish Spranger, another the German Hans von Aachen and the third the Swiss Joseph Heintz.
Spranger was in Paris at the age of nineteen with Primaticcio and Niccolò dell'Abbate. He worked in Parma, where Correggio and Parmigianino influenced him, then he spent eight years in Rome and in 1575 arrived to the court of Maximillian II and became court painter of Rudolph II in 1581.
Venus and Adonis is a late work by Spranger, a masterpiece of the Rudolphean Mannerism.