This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2018
"The Birth of Venus" 1776
etching & aquatint
CRE BARRY, James; (Irish; 1741-1806)
brown ink on paper
40.4 x 58.3
inscr on plate b. l. "James Barry invt. / The Birth of Venus humbly inscrib'd to"; insc ron plate b. r. "A. M. Sct / Publish'd according to Act of Parliament by J. Barry Dec. 1776"
With touches of grey wash on Venus's hair.
129, no 7, state i/vii PRESSLY, William L. 1981 The Life and Art of James Barry; Yale University Press.
From the founder, William Hunter's print collection. The only other impression of this state is in the British Museum. Barry's Birth of Venus is a modern version of an ancient image described in literature, the Anadyomene painted by the 4th century BC painter Apelles. It is quite different from the artist's 1772 painting Venus Rising from the Sea (Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery, Dublin). We know from Hunter's correspondence that Barry borrowed books, and consulted Hunter's coin cabinet, in order to find authentic portraits for his paintings for the Great Room of the Society of Arts, which he began in 1777. It can also be assumed that Hunter's group of early impressions of Barry's prints were purchased from, or were a gift from the artist. Here, in one of Barry's most successful prints, Venus is offered up to the viewer by a shaggy sea god in the style of Salvator Rosa; the god's head echoes that of Poseidon in Hunter's Laomedon Detected painting, which was then believed to be by Rosa.
NEPTUNE : SEA GOD : BIRTH : MYTHOLOGY : DOVE : POSEIDON : HUNTER 2007 : NEOCLASSICISM : PM : :