DESCRIPTION OF PRINT SUBJECT:
At first blush, the intimate association of the God of War and the Goddess of Love would seem to be out of character and discordant, for love is gentle and seeks quiet pleasures, while war is rude, cruel and disastrous. Nevertheless in classic story these two deities are constantly associated in harmonious contrast. In the ancient pagan conception war and love would seem to be complementary. Certain it is that Mars had no admirer so sincere as Venus, and that Venus had no lover more constant, than Mars, although it must be admitted that the classic heaven is no place to look for constancy. Venus was herself much given to dabbling in wars. In the siege of Troy she was especially prominent) being much interested in several of the warriors there engaged—among them Paris, whom she rescued from death and restored to the companionship of the beauteous Helen; and, chief of all, Aeneas, her own son (but not by Mars). In this siege the goddess received a wound which sent her in dismay from the field. She fled direct to Mars, from whom she expected lively sympathy and swift revenge; nor was she disappointed, although Mars himself fared rather badly in that war, having Minerva, as well as the Greeks, to contend with.
The prominence given to Venus in Homer's great Epic of War, teaches, as it were, by parable how often wars are fomented and prolonged and intensified by the passion of love. This very siege of Troy, which ended in the utter destruction of the great city, grew out of Paris's amour with Helen. Again, when in one of the songs which (in the Odyssey) Homer puts in the mouth of a minstrel, reciting how Mars and Venus were ensnared in a net by Vulcan, while indulging an illicit amour, we are reminded how the mightiest warrior may be conquered by voluptuous passion, and so fall a victim to foes that he despised. Many painters have been fond of representing Mars and Venus together. In all ages the fair sex have admired soldiers, in the days of chivalry the bravest, most puissant knight merited the fairest lady beauty was the prize of valor. The sentiment expressed by Dryden, "None but the brave deserves the fair," was long a ruling one, and is yet far from obsolete.
The Mars and Venus of our picture are probably portraits—the lady resembles one of the beautiful daughters of Palma Vecchio. The painting is in the Doria Palace, Rome. Paris Bordone was born at Treviso in 1500. He was a pupil of both Giorgione and Titian) but formed his style upon that of the latter, and imitated his excellences so nearly that his pictures were occasionally mistaken for those of Titian. He spent some time in Paris, to which fact his surname is probably attributable. He died in 1571.
AN EXTREMELY RARE PRINT ! VERY VERY HARD TO FIND!