I Jan van Kessel

Venus at the Forge of Vulcan

Venus at the Forge of Vulcan
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: I Jan van Kessel
History Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 59.5x84 cm
Origin: Flanders, 1662

In The Aeneid Virgil relates how Venus visited the forge of her husband Vulcan to request that he make arms for her son Aenaes, who is setting out in combat against the Rutuli. This mythological subject is presented by the artist as the allegory of Fire. Van Kessel depicts the various states of this element - a fire-breathing mountain in the background, a blacksmith's furnace and a pair of spotted salamanders on the ground next to Vulcan. According to the medieval bestiary, salamanders were symbols of fire, were not consumed by fire and even possessed the ability to extinguish a flame.

The most important part of the space in the composition has been allotted by the artist to the depiction of the equipment being prepared in the forge: armour , arms and military musical instruments . The painting also depicts a large flag and a saddle and a harness for a horse). A more remote symbolic meaning can be found in the objects of daily use made with the help of fire: silver, glass and ceramic vessels which are assembled together in the silver wine chiller. The theme is rounded out by a still life in the style of vanitas on the table in the right part of the painting. The emptiness and vanity of earthly passions is embodied in the open mechanical clock, in the lit candle and pipe with tobacco, while the salt-cellar, goblet and glass of wine embody the mystery of the Eucharist.

The composition of the painting has been taken from Jan Brueghel the Elder's Allegory of Fire , while the depiction of the military outfit and instruments was borrowed from the ?guardrooms? of David Teniers the Younger.

Personage: Venus
Source of entry: unknown, Before 1797
Theme: Religion and Mythology of Antiquity

See also

Jan van Kessel Online
Jan van Kessel [Dutch Baroque Era Painter, ca.1626-1679] Guide to pictures of works by Jan van Kessel in art museum sites and image archives worldwide.
Jan van Kessel, senior - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan van Kessel (Antwerp, 1626-idem, 1679) was a Flemish painter of still lifes, who was the father of another painter with the same name Jan ...
Jan Van Kessel (1612 - 1679) Artwork Images, Exhibitions, Reviews
Jan van Kessel II was taught by his uncle, Jan Brueghel the Younger before joining ... Jan Van Kessel the Elder - Water 1660-70 oil on copper The Detroit ...
Jan van Kessel - Rijksmuseum Amsterdam - Museum for Art and History
Painter and designer Jan van Kessel of Antwerp was the son of the painter Hieronymus van Kessel and the grandson of Jan Brueghel. In 1645 he was registered ...

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