The Toilet of Venus (The Rokeby Venus)

Here Velázquez depicts Venus as she reclines on a bed while her son, cupid, holds up a mirror for her to look at herself in. This work is the only surviving Veláquez nude, as the subject was highly controversial in Spain because of the Church. The work was most likely made for the Marqués del Carpio, son of the First Minister of Spain, and displayed privately to avoid the Spanish Inquisition. “The Toilet of Venus” is also known as “The Rokeby Venus” because it was in the Morritt Collection at Rokeby Park before it was acquired by the National Gallery. In 1906, while in the National Gallery, the work was slashed with a meat chopper by suffragette Mary Richardson or “Slasher Mary” as she came to be known, because of “the way men visitors gaped at it all day.”

Creator: Diego Velázquez

Date: 1647-51

Original Medium: Oil on canvas

Original Size: 122.5 x 177 cm

Location: National Gallery London