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John Gibson RA, Birth of Venus; received by Celestial Love, and crowned by Persuasion

Birth of Venus; received by Celestial Love, and crowned by Persuasion, ca. 1840

John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)

RA Collection: Art

Venus is depicted emerging from the sea attended by two female figure, Celestial Love (left) and Persuasion (right). Lady Eastlake quotes from a letter written by Gibson to his friend Mrs Sandbach (25 December 1840), which explains the subject:

‘I am contending the desire to begin to model my design of the birth of Venus: soon I shall abandon everything and begin. Let me bring it before your mental sight. Behold the new-born Goddess of Beauty rise from the sea, one foot on the earth, the other just emerging from the last wave. She looks forward with modesty and innocence while celestial Eros receives her with joyful delight. One the left side of Venus is the Goddess of Persuasion, holding her hand, and crowing her with flowers. Phidias represented Venus risen from the sea and received by Love, which Persuasion presents to her a crown of flowers. That is my authority for introducing Persuasion.’ (Lady Eastlake, 1870, pp. 99-100)

The distinction between Earthly and Heavenly Love was a favourite subject for Gibson and one which Lady Eastlake noted that he enjoyed deliberating and debating.

Object details

Birth of Venus; received by Celestial Love, and crowned by Persuasion
John Gibson RA (1790 - 1866)
ca. 1840
Object type
Sculpture Relief
Plaster relief

590 mm x 673 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Studio frame
Bequeathed by John Gibson RA 1866
Painted black
Inscribed with title

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