Decoding the Secrets of Velázquez’s Venus

The Toilet of Venus or ‘The Rokeby Venus’ (c.1647–51) by Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas. National Gallery, London. Image source Wikimedia Commons

This enigmatic painting depicts the goddess Venus stretched out on silk bedclothes with her back turned to us. Meanwhile, her mischievous offspring Cupid holds up a mirror in order for her to enjoy her own beauty (whilst we, the viewer, are meant to do the same).

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