The Toilet of Venus (Rokeby Venus) by Diego Velázquez

In this episode, we’ll be visiting the Toilet of Venus also known as the Rokeby Venus by Diego Velázquez at the National Gallery London. Welcome to Art, Culture & Books with me, Anthony King.

Diego Velázquez, a prominent figure in the Spanish Golden Age of art, painted The Rokeby Venus between 1647 and 1651, likely during his time in Italy. This masterpiece portrays Venus, the goddess of love, reclining sensually on a bed, her back turned to the observer, while Cupid, the Roman god of physical love, holds a mirror.

Records show that Velázquez was baptized on June 6, 1599, and died on August 6, 1660, Diego Rodríguez Velázquez, a Knight of the Order of Santiago, stood as a leading painter in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and Portugal.

The Spanish Golden Age, marked by a flourishing of arts and literature, aligned with the ascendancy of the Spanish Empire under the Catholic Monarchs of Spain and the Spanish Habsburgs. King Philip II (1556–1598) emerged as the chief patron of Spanish art and culture during this epoch.

On November 6th 2023 Climate activists attacked the painting and it was removed from view.

By Anthony King (c)