Giambologna’s Venus Fiorenza, a perfect fit for “Jerusalem Delivered”
Here is a Venus Anadyomene by Flemish sculptor Giambologna (born Jean de Boulogne, 1529-1608). The statue is also known as “Venus Fiorenza”, and was created to top the fountain left incomplete by Nicolò Pericoli (called “il Tribolo”), currently in Villa La Petraia in Florence.
The statue portrays Aphrodite as she is born from the water, as described by so many artists. One of them was Giambologna’s contemporary, poet Torquato Tasso (1544-1595), who dedicated a few octaves in Canto XV of “Jerusalem Delivered” to the episode in which Charles and Ubaldo, while looking for Rinaldo, see a beautiful girl bathing in the river.
In his epic poem, Tasso weaves a simile between the young temptress and Venus herself, as she is born from the sea:
As when the morning star, escaped and fled / From greedy waves, with dewy beams up flies, / Or as the Queen of Love, new born and bred / Of the Ocean’s fruitful froth, did first arise: / So vented she her golden locks forth shed / Round pearls and crystal moist therein which lies.
A poetic description that fits this beautiful bronze statue perfectly.