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Crocker Art Museum

Pietro Testa "Venus and Cupid"

Pietro Testa "Venus and Cupid"

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From: Crocker Art Museum
Limited Edition: 19
Exhibition: The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 31" x 72" (78cm x 182cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


The nude form has long inspired artists, providing a timeless and classical subject for works in all media. The simplicity of the sketch is particularly well-suited to capturing the human form. Clean lines, gestural penstrokes, and a careful eye to nature create the work of Italian Baroque artist Pietro Testa. 19 banners from the Crocker Art Museum feature his Venus and Cupid in a Landscape. The smooth curves of Venus's reclining form are juxtaposed against the rocky sharp lines of the mountains in the distance behind her.


Drawing has the ability to capture and transform a simple image. In the Crocker Art Museum’s recent exhibition, The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body this aspect of drawing was on display. Images of the human body in repose and in action showed the variety of what is possible simply by putting pen to paper.

Perhaps at no period other than the high Baroque did drawing achieve such a painterly quality. The Baroque drafstmen of Italy had a virtuosity of pen technique that could take mundane images and make them dramatic and stunning. With a subject such as the nude form, they could use grand gestures and flourishes to show a figure to full effect.

A fine example of this is Pietro Testa’s 17th-century work, Venus and Cupid in a Landscape featured on this banner. The classical subject is rendered beautifully with sketchy lines forming the figure of the reclining Venus and the cherubic Cupid who looks over her. The statuesque nude figure with its smooth lines and curves contrasts dramatically with the rocky, sharp landscape of mountains in the background. The whole image radiates a quickly sketched feeling while at the same time being carefully balanced, and meticulously drawn.

The image is featured on this banner on an ivory background. Above the image text reads “The Language of the Nude/Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body”. Below the image are the dates of the exhibition, “May 10 – July 27”. Both sides of the banner are identical.


These banners were displayed around Sacramento, California from May 10 to July 27, 2008 to promote the exhibition, The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body at the Crocker Art Museum.

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