Pompeo Batoni

Vulcan at his Forge

1750
Batoni shows the blacksmith god Vulcan at work. The subject evokes a scene in Virgil’s Aeneid, when Venus – Vulcan’s wife – asks him to forge magic weapons for her son Aeneas, ancestor of the Romans. The composition appears to be based on study of a living model. The god’s twisted pose is indebted to Antique sculpture – a vital model for artists – and allows Batoni to demonstrate his understanding of anatomy. References to Antiquity and to the “grand” subject matter of ancient myth elevate and enrich the work.
Title
Vulcan at his Forge
Date
1750
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
94.2 x 72.2 x 2.4 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 2012
Rights
Photo © NGC
Accession number
45405