Uffizi Treasures :. Amore vincitore

This painting belonged to the collection of Grand Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, perhaps coming from the set of works that remained in the possession of Orazio’s brother after his death. The subject of the work is conventionally described as “Love conquering the arts”, but in the Medici inventories of the late 17th century the painting was already being referred to as “Love dominating everything” or as “The genius of virtue”. The Virgilian concept of Omnia vincit amor underpinning this painting had an illustrious precedent in a similar subject painted by Caravaggio for the Marquis Giustiniani. Along with the usual trappings of the bow and arrows, the figure of Amor [Cupid] is surrounded by a series of items alluding to the arts, the sciences, literary fame, the use of weapons and earthly power which, as well as being elegant pieces of still life, exhort us not to yield to our passions but to practise the arts and other human activities (the gesture of Cupid’s hand is significant) in order to attain harmony. From a compositional point of view, in the pose of Cupid, in particular, the inspiration from some of Caravaggio’s figures merges with that of ancient statuary, particularly the Ludovisi Ares. However, the Caravaggism of Riminaldi’s early years in Rome is in this work eclipsed, moving in the direction of the classicism of the French artist Vouet, given the perfect balance of the composition and the proud, ostentatious beauty of the ephebe.