I just got my glorious copy of The Classical Tradition (which I will blog about later), and on the cover is one of the most hilarious paintings I’ve ever seen. It is Jacques-Louis David’s neoclassical romp, Mars being disarmed by Venus. Here we see the Goddess of Love working her feminine wiles to take Mars’ mind off of his petty wars. As you can see, it seems to be working. He is starting to get that far-off look in his eye, and though he is leaning away from her he doesn’t seem to mind her hand on his thigh. Venus’ accomplices include Cupid, who is helping Mars off with his sandals, and the three Graces, Aglaea (Splendour), Euphrosyne (Mirth), and Thalia (Good Cheer), who are confiscating Mars’ armaments and plying him with wine. Even the God of War can’t resist such a multi-pronged attack, and it looks like it will be a total rout.
[click image to enlarge]