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Artist: Lorenzo Costa the Elder
(Ferrara ca. 1460 – 1535 Mantua)

Date: ca. 1515–1518
Medium: oil on poplar
Dimensions: 174 x 76 cm
with frame: 68 x 65 x 10 cm
Classification: painting
Inventory Number: 1257
Department: Old Master Paintings

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Lorenzo Costa received his training in Ferrara. First he worked independently in Bologna and subsequently, from 1506 onwards, at the court of the Gonzagas in Mantua. In lack of any written documents, his sojourn in Florence can only be supposed, a hypothesis which can well be supported by this very painting, too. Similar depictions of the goddess of beauty and love can be found among the works of Botticelli and his circle, just as the neo-Platonic philosophy placing in the focus the concepts embodied by Venus, had the most ardent followers also in the city of the Medicis. The Budapest picture has recently been identified by an Italian scholar with the Venus painted by Costa, which Francesco Gonzaga, the marquis of Mantua, sent as a gift to François I, King of France in 1518.

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