Jul 20, 2017
Aug 21, 2006

Venus Wounded by a Rose's Thorn

Venus Wounded by a Rose's Thorn

c. 1516

Marco Dente

(Italian, c. 1486–1527)

after Raphael

(Italian, 1483–1520)

published by

Antonio Salamanca



Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 26.1 x 16.8 cm (10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1930.581

Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch XIV.241.321 (as Marc. Raimondi, XIV.241) Le B.II.111.18; Ottley II.261

State: II/III

Did you know?

The story featured here has been used to explain why some roses are red: they were stained with the blood of Venus after she pricked herself while walking in the forest.


This composition alludes to The Lament for Adonis by the Greek poet Bion (active about 100 BCE). In the poem, Venus, distraught by the death of her lover Adonis, wanders barefoot in the woods and is wounded by brambles. Although Bion implores Venus to “weep no longer in the thickets,” the poem does not describe the moment depicted here when she plucks a thorn from her foot, imaginatively conceived as a vehicle to present a classical female nude. The wide-eyed hare near Venus is an ancient symbol of fertility and sexual desire.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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