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Venus Verticordia

Photo credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

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The woman in this picture is Venus, the Roman goddess of love and this painting is full of symbols of lust and love. The arrow she holds in her hand is poised ready to pierce hearts, the apple represents the fruit that tempted Eve and the roses and honeysuckles are symbols of desire. The painting’s title is taken from a poem by the Roman author, Ovid, and translates as ‘Venus, turner of hearts’. The original model for the work was an unnamed cook who worked at Portland Place, London. The painting did not sell so Rossetti repainted Venus with the face of Alexa Wilding, one of his favourite models.

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum





oil on canvas


H 81.3 x W 68 cm

Accession number

BORGM 01897

Acquisition method

purchased from E. Percival Allam, with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund, 1946

Work type



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Normally on display at

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

Russell-Cotes Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 3AA England

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