The Italian Almanac

Venus Mirror

Italian Art - March 22

Museo di Capodimonte (Capodimonte Museum) in Naples presents "Velázquez a Capodimonte," on view through June 19, 2005. The exhibition was curated by Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Nicola Spinosa, with the collaboration of Benito Navarrete and Salvador Salort Pons. The exhibition portrays Velázquez as an heir of Caravaggio and Titian.

Velázquez met Caravaggio and Titian during his two long trips to Italy. The “Mirror Venus” (1650) from the National Gallery in London, one of this masterpieces of the second trip, is on view for the first time next to “Danae” (1545) by Titian.

Velázquez first trip to Italy took place between 1629 and 1631. Rubens had suggested he meet Caravaggio, Titian and José de Ribera in his trip to the cities of Genova, Milan Venice, Parma, Rome and Naples. The second trip took place between 1649 and 1651 when King Philip IV asked Velázquez to purchase Italian works for his collection. Here Velázquez met Lucas Jordan and the woman portrayed in the “Mirror Venus”.