Giovanni Francesco Susini (nephew of Antonio Susini) was a talented modeler and bronze founder. In addition to casting models by Giovanni Bologna, the younger Susini created original compositions, such as this Venus and Adonis. Seated on a tree stump, the goddess Venus implores her lover Adonis not to set off on a hunt for wild beasts. Adonis disregards her poignant plea and is later killed by a boar. Titian painted several versions of the tragic story, which enjoyed enormous popularity during the Renaissance and Baroque period. Susini enlivened the surface of Venus and Adonis with a variety of cold-worked textures: a hammered pattern distinguishes trunk from drapery and punching decorates the sandals and the strap around Adonis's shoulder. This sculptural group contains a major technical change: it was cast in three separate parts that were mechanically joined after casting—Venus and the stump, Adonis and Venus's left arm, and the connecting arms of the figures. Originally invisible, the joins can now be noted as fine lines encircling Venus's arms.

Turn the Sculpture Yourself
Giovanni Francesco Susini
Florentine, 1585–c. 1653
Venus and Adonis
c. 1620–1630
bronze