Cupid Making His Bow
Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens is easily recognized through his cherubic imagery that made up much of his 17th-century works. Cupid Making His Bow offers no exception to his typical style, and while many of his images depict twisted and violent acts, it’s this peculiar work from 1614 that catches our attention. The piece is a copy of the 16th-century work of the same name by Italian artist Parmigianino, but there’s an uncomfortable devilishness to Rubens’ version that causes it to stand out. While Parmigianino’s Cupid is painted with a rigid face, Rubens’ take bears a pleasured look that eerily contrasts the terrified demeanor of the cherubs at his feet. The 1614 iteration of Rubens’ darker style is unsettling in a mischievous way.