Venus Presenting Arms to Aeneas, 1717
Jean (the Younger) Restout
oil on canvas
137 x 105 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 28101)
Restout has faithfully illustrated the passage from Virgil's Aeneid (Book VIII) in which Venus descends amid clouds to bring weapons made by Vulcan to her son Aeneas: "See the promised gifts, product of my husband's art. Now seek out the Laurentine enemy and defy proud Turnus". This painting is believed to be the diploma piece that Restout submitted in 1717 for his "agrégation," or entrance as an associate member of the French Royal Academy. It was the beginning of a successful career as a history painter, that would include his election as professor, director, and finally chancellor of the Academy.
Frame: carved wood, gilded. France, mid-18th century