Sunday, 18 September 2016
Roger Favier’s engraving of Velázquez’s “The Rokeby Venus”
Roger Favier (1881–1925)
“The Rokeby Venus” (aka “The Toilet of Venus”, “Venus at her Mirror”, “Venus and Cupid”, “La Venus del espejo”), c.1907, after Diego Velázquez (1599–1660). This is an early unlettered proof state before publication in “La Revue de l’art ancien et moderne”, December 1907, T. 129, bw p. 114–15.
Engraving on wove (Japan) paper, avant la letre (proof before letters), signed by the artist in pencil.
Size: (sheet) 22.9 x 31.4 cm; (plate) 19 x 24.7 cm; (image borderline) 15 x 22.1 cm
Note that Idburyprints offers a fine description of this engraving in its lettered state that gives the printer’s name (Chardon-Wittmann [1884 - 1890; fl. c.]): http://idburyprints.com/index.php?page=print_style_view.php&pid=6681&s_name=Nudes,%20female&s_table=subject&s_title=subject&sp_id=4&page1=52
Condition: superb, richly inked and well-printed proof impression (i.e. before lettering with publication details) in pristine condition with generous margins and signed by the artist in pencil.
I am selling this rare, pencil signed engraving in faultless condition after the famous painting by Velázquez for AU$92 in total (currently US$68.90/EUR61.84/GBP53.034 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing historically significant, and highly influential image, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
This image of the goddess, Venus, reclining on a bed while gazing at a mirror held by her son, the Roman god of physical love, Cupid, is one of the most famous paintings in the National Gallery, London. Beyond its sad plight after being badly damaged in 1914 by the suffragette, Mary Richardson—fortunately it is now fully restored—it is for many artists and historians a key milestone in the evolution of how nudes are portrayed.
Rather than discuss its historical significance in terms of paintings that may be viewed as its precedents (e.g. Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus” [c.1510] and Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” ) and paintings that it may have inspired (e.g. Manet’s “Olympia”  and Baudry's “The Wave and the Pearl ), I’ve decided to focus on the single element that I find the most interesting: Venus’ reflection in the mirror.
Although the scientific impossibility of the portrayed reflection has been well documented, what is seldom discussed is the psychological challenge of wanting to look upon the goddess’ divine body when she is looking straight at us. For me, this “challenge” to ignore her reflected gaze so that I may admire her body and the rest of the image creates a reflexive response. This response may be all about constrained desire, but, in terms of wanting to look at this image directly and in its entirety, the reflected gaze of Venus is disconcerting. Of course, the psychological challenge that I experience to ignore Venus’ direct gaze is a personal constraint that may not be shared by all viewers. Nevertheless, without this constraint I imagine that the image may not be so transfixing.