“Cupid releasing two pigeons”, 1798
Benjamin West, (1738-1820)
Oil On Canvas-56 3/8 for 39 ¼ in.
Cupid, which is shown here in natural size, releases two pigeons, a classic mythological symbol of love, in the world through a pink band in his right hand, while on his left grab a wooden stick adorned with leaves and flowers . The reason for cupid with two birds harnessed appears earlier at west work, noticeably in his venus relative to Adonis, the story of hippomenes and Atalanta (private collection), and returns to this type of general figure in the perhaps most known omnia vincit Love on a large scale, or the power of love in the three elements, now at the metropolitan museum of art.
Although he exhibited the painting at the Royal Academy in 1798, Benjamin West later reviewed it on two later occasions, a practice in which he participated regularly after 1800. in the present work, denotes carefully several adjustments to work, adding the dates In which he returned to the image (1803 and 1808) in the lower left corner. The most dramatic change he applied was to place Cupid’s left wing.
COURTESY OF SOTHEBY’s