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Video transcript

pleasure often comes with a cost with a little pain and Lucas Cranach the elder reminds us of that and his painting Cupid complaining to Venus we see Cupid who's reached for a honeycomb only to be stunned by home set of bees and he's looking up at Venus his mother in pain as though he's pleading for her sympathy she doesn't seem to be paying attention to him at all however instead she's looking out at us as a sultry seducer there's no denying the eroticism of this painting of her body of her look toward us the way that she positions her legs between that branch the way that she reaches up toward the apples on the tree reminding us of so this is really a bit of a composite you have on the one hand this reference back to antiquity you have Venus the goddess of love and beauty you have her son Cupid these are all classical references and in fact in the top you have a translation from the Latin which actually speaks to the relationship between pain and pleasure yet we also have this very dramatic image with this dark forest on the left and fashions actually they relate to the Saxon Court cronic was court painter to the electors the rulers of Saxony who actually commissioned this painting and so the woman here Venus although she's the pagan goddess of love as you said is wearing the headdress and necklaces of an aristocratic woman at the court in Saxony it's a little bit vampy to have this nude woman wear both jewelry and that wild headdress and be utterly nude otherwise yeah it is but she's painted so seductively that he really is challenging us with this or moral issues of our lust of whether the pleasure is worth the pain exactly so on the Left we have German forest with and a doe and on the right a very deep landscape with a lovely reflection in a river you can see in that water two swans and the reflection of a house with a red roof but beyond that these wonderfully fanciful cliffs and there's a castle up at the top there's a house that's cantilevered over on the right side and a castle on the river itself with a beautiful reflection and that's still water this is under Rishta Craddock image this is an image of castles on rivers and it feels German to me in so many ways the forests the rivers the castles and yet in the foreground you have this wonderful classist eyes literary reference and it's not only sexual but it's also really playful let's not forget about the complaining infant