Beware of Cupid’s arrows! Happy Valentine’s Day from the Italian Art Society.

In this intriguing painting, Parmigianino shows the god of love glancing seductively over his shoulder while he carves his bow, supposedly from the club of Hercules. The message here is that love can overcome physical might. Cupid stands over a pile of books, symbolizing the power of love over knowledge and learning. An impish amorino teases his companion, trying to force him to touch Cupid, who burns with passion.

Cupid Carving his Bow, ca. 1535, Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

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