As we pointed out in the previous post, Corregio was one of the great artists of Mannerism in Italy, on this occasion we analyze and compare two of his works whose common trigger is love but seen from two almost antagonistic versions: in the previous painting en titled Venus and Cupid we analyzed carnal and sensual love; on this occasion, the canvas named as The education of Eros is rather a representation of platonic and intellectual love.
It seems that the two canvases were part of a set of works on a mythological theme that must have been commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Federico II Gonzaga, which had as a common thread the nude or semi-nude. However, some authors also consider the possibility that the pieces were commissioned by a relative of the Duke, Count Nicola Maffei, which would explain the fact that the canvases appeared in his will at the end of the 1930s.
Be that as it may, the truth is that the piece represents three gods in the foreground. At first glance we might think that it is a family group, but if we look closely we discover that this is not the case; Cupid or Eros was the son of Venus, the goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war, however, on this occasion his father is not represented on the canvas and has been replaced by Mercury, the god of eloquence who participated in theeducation of the child more than his own father by express wish of the goddess Aphrodite.
Forming a triangular composition we find Mercury teaching little Eros to read, both are immersed in their chores and remain absent to the viewer's gaze, but Venus looks directly at us while holding in one of her hands the bow of your son.
Once again we find a very mannerist piece in which the characters adopt different postures and the curve of the hip is emphasized, especially that of Venus. The modeling of the nude is done through light, with a luminous and soft, almost velvety incarnation typical of Corregio's painting. However, the voluminous shapes of the characters anticipate us a certain baroque style that refers to the figures of Rubens.
The background, like the canvas of Venus and Cupid, is almost plunged into darkness, reminding us of Leonardo's chiaroscuro.