(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

Venus on the Chariot Pulled by Doves

Villa Farnesina, Rome

Raphael's pictorial narrative in the Loggia di Psiche begins in the spandrels of the short side on the left as one enters and continues along the spandrels to the right to the second short side and then along the entrance side. These triangular surfaces represented a problematic format for artists. Raphael solved this challenge in ever new and surprising ways, causing the form of the painting's support and the composition of its figures to interact in particularly fortuitous and varied manners.

In this spandrel Venus is hurrying in a chariot pulled by doves to her father Jupiter in order to complain to him. The goddess's arms seem to give momentum to her flight, and her garment flutters in the airstream. The beats of the doves' wings drive the movement to the right, where the story leaps across into the next spandrel.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.