Designed in the tradition of medieval millefleurs tapestries, Burne-Jones depicts Venus riding on her chariot drawn by doves. Her son Cupid goes before her, drawing his bow as his foot rests on a prostrate woman; the three women to the left have already been vanquished by his arrows. A group of women to the right flee in terror from Cupid, who is looking in their direction.
Artist Edward Coley Burne-Jones, English, 1833-1898
  • Passing of Venus
Date 1926
Medium Wool, silk and linen
Dimensions Overall: 8 15/16 x 19 1/4 ft. (107 in. x 19 ft. 3 in.)
Credit Line Gift of George G. Booth
Accession Number 27.152
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
Not On View
Signed On border: MERTON ABBEY and P.S. [weaver Percy Sheldrick, on galoon, lower right]
Inscriptions In two scrolls in the upper border:
Comment des jeunes colombeaux / En ung char qui fut riche et beau / Mainent Venus en lost d'Amours / pour lui faire hatif secours
("How some young doves pull Venus in a chariot that was rich and beautiful to the group of loves in order to help them without delay")
Commissioned by George Booth in 1922 for the Detroit Institute of Arts's new building at 5200 Woodward Avenue.
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