21 September 2017

Burne-Jones new drawing at the Gulbenkian Museum

At an auction at Sotheby’s in London, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation acquired the drawing Study for the Mirror of Venus by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. This is a preliminary study for the famous painting The Mirror of Venus, which Calouste S. Gulbenkian acquired in 1924, and which is one of the masterpieces in the Founder’s Collection.

The pencil drawing (Burne-Jones made countless full and partial studies for the painting over the course of almost a decade) is interesting because it shows us a version of the composition that is very close to its final state, with the figure of Venus still nude, a detail that was changed in the final composition.

It is worth noting that the Founder’s Collection, despite the time limit for acquisitions being the year of Calouste Gulbenkian’s death (1955), has in the past incorporated works bearing a direct relation to the pieces in the collection. These include four preparatory drawings for jewellery by René Lalique, a preliminary drawing for a painting by Francesco Guardi, a drawing by Cochin and the album for the Walpole Collection of Houghton Hall, which contains a reproduction of Rubens’ portrait of Helena Fourment.