Illustrated with colour
plates and drawings
THE RIDDLE OF BRONZINO
by Richard Auty
Lust, deceit and disease lurk within the strange painting called An Allegory with Venus and Cupid created by Bronzino in Florence around the year 1540 and now hanging in the
National Gallery in London. Venus and Cupid are nude and kissing lasciviously.
Also in the painting are Time; a screaming figure; a person or mask with the
back of its head missing and a weird creature, whose upper part is a pretty
girl and lower half some kind of reptile.
The meaning of the painting is a mystery. At present it is thought to be about
syphilis, but it was probably a diplomatic gift sent to King Francis I of
France when he was dying, possibly of syphilis: would he have appreciated a
painting about the disease that was killing him?
The Riddle of Bronzino takes a relaxed, discursive look at the figures and objects in the painting and
at when, why and how it was created. This leads to the discovery of a new
multi-layered solution to the riddle of its meaning and shows that, as well as
being a beautiful object of historical interest, the Allegory is a psychologically penetrating image of relevance today.
The author is a retired physician, professor of medicine and senior executive in
the pharmaceutical industry. He has lived and worked in the UK, Nigeria, Malawi
and the USA, and has had a long-standing interest in history and art
appreciation. He spent several years researching and writing this book after
reading, and being unconvinced by, a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine which discussed the idea that Bronzino’s famous painting includes a representation of syphilis.
New Book - Published on 10th May 2019 - Art History
United Writers Publications Ltd
Ailsa - Castle Gate - Penzance - Cornwall TR20 8BG