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Creator:
John Gibson, 1790–1866, British, active in Rome, Italy
Title:

Cupid Disguised as a Shepherd Boy

Former Title(s):

A statue in marble, representing Love disguised as a shepherd [1834, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]

Date:
commissioned in 1834
Medium:
Carrara marble
Dimensions:
51 × 21 × 16 inches (129.5 × 53.3 × 40.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of Karen S. W. and Edward A. Friedman, Yale BA 1971, Kristin W. and Gary D. Friedman, Yale BA 1973, Ruth and Theodore N. Mirvis, and Darcy Bradbury and Eric Seiler
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B2013.27
Classification:
Sculptures
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bow | portrait | religious and mythological subject | shepherd
Associated People:
Cupid
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:67546
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The subject is drawn from the opening lines of a sixteenthcentury pastoral drama, Aminta, by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso. Cupid, the god of love, is disguised in the clothes of a shepherd. His bow is partly concealed by his side, and only the tips of his wings are visible beneath his cloak. Interest in Tasso’s work and tragic life was revived in the early nineteenth century by the romantic poets. Beginning in around 1830, Gibson produced nine versions of this statue for patrons in America, Britain, and other parts of Europe, indicating its international appeal. This version was commissioned in 1834 by a future British prime minister, Robert Peel, when he visited Gibson’s studio in Rome during a tour of Italy.

Gallery label for A Decade of Gifts and Acquisitions (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-06-01 - 2017-08-13)



The subject is drawn from the opening lines of a sixteenth-century pastoral drama, Aminta, by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso. Cupid, the god of love, is disguised in the clothes of a shepherd. His bow is partly concealed by his side, and only the tips of his wings are visible beneath his cloak. Interest in Tasso’s work and tragic life was revived in the early nineteenth century by the romantic poets. Beginning in around 1830, Gibson produced nine versions of this statue for patrons in America, Britain, and other parts of Europe, indicating its international appeal. This version was commissioned in 1834 by a future British prime minister, Robert Peel, when he visited Gibson’s studio in Rome during a tour of Italy.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Sculpture Victorious : Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901 (Tate Britain, 2015-02-24 - 2015-05-24) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Sculpture Victorious : Art in an Age of Invention, 1837-1901 (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-09-11 - 2014-11-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Caroline Arscott, Manifestations of Venus, Art and Sexuality , Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2000, pp. xi, 121, no. 48, N7763 V46 M36 2000 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Art Reproduction, Sculpture Journal, vol 11, 1998, p. 155, NB1 S39 (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Catalogue of the Peel Heirlooms, including fine engravings, clocks, candelabra, decorative furniture, china, sculpture, by Nollekens, Milligan, T. Kirk, Rysbrach, Roubiliac, F. Chantrey, Thorwaldsen, Wyatt, Gibson, and others ... , Robinson & Fisher, London, 10 May 1900, p. 14, no. 161, Available online: Art Sales Cataloges Online [ORBIS]

Penelope Curtis, Patronage & Practice, Sculpture on Merseyside , Tate Publishing, Liverpool, 1989, pp. 54-55, NB469 M4 P27 1989 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Martina Droth, Sculpture Victorious, Art in an Age of Intervention, 1837-1901 , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2014, pp. 178-181, cat. 52, NB467 S39 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lady Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake, Life of John Gibson, R.A. Sculptor, Longmans, Green & Co, London, 1870, pp. 75-76, 250, NJ18 G3553 E37 1870A (SML) [ORBIS]

Lady Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake, Life of John Gibson, R.A. Sculptor, Longmans, Green & Co, London, 1870, pp. 75-76, 250, Fiche B1244 Fiche.N.4.2.361 (SML) [ORBIS]

Gosudarstvennyi Ermitazh, Hermitage, English Art, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Century: Paintings, Sculpture, Prints and Drawings, minor arts , Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1979, no. 329, N6764 G6813 1979 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Roberto C. Ferrari, Beyond Polychromy : John Gibson, the Roman School of Sculpture, and the Modern Classical Body, PhD. Dissertation, City University of New York , The City University of New York, New York, 2013, pp. 166, 176-177m 183, 191-195, 218, fig, 5.1-5.4, 5.12, Available online: Proquest Dissertations & Theses [ORBIS]

Cora Gilroy-Ware, The classical body in Romantic Britain, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, p. 237, fig. 113, N6766.5.N4 G55 2020+ (YCBA) [YCBA]

Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, Murrays Books sales, London, 1968, pp. 171-173, NB496 G85 1968 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John M. Hunisak, Carvings, Casts, and Replicas, Nineteenth Century Sculpture from Europe and America in New England Collections , Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT, 1994, p. 80, no. 17, NB457 H86 1994 OVERSIZE (DIVINITY) [ORBIS]

John Gibson, R.A., Daily News, London, 22 January 1866, p. 2, Available online: 19th Century British Library Newspapers [ORBIS]

T. Matthews, Biography of John Gibson, R.A., Sculptor, Rome, Heinemann, London, 1911, pp. 75-78, 84, 110, 242, NJ18 G3553 A3 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Metropolitan Museum Statuary, Decorator and Furnisher, vol. 3, March 1884, p. 216, Available online: JSTOR [ORBIS]

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Cupid Disguised as a Shepherd Boy , accession number 84.271a, 2014, unnumbered webpage, www.mfa.or/collections/object/cupid-disguised-as-a-shepherd entry is for MFA's repetition; description includes information about provenance of MFA object

Ingrid Roscoe, A biographical dictionary of sculptors in Britain, 1660-1851, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2009, p. 525, no. 45, NB496 B56 2009 (YCBA) (Wall Shelf 3) Yale electronic resource also available online: Orbis [YCBA]

Royal Academy of Arts, Exhibition Catalogue. 1837. 69th., Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, no. 69, London, 1837, p. 51, no. 1169, N5054 A53 65-79 (YCBA) [YCBA]

William Sandby, History of the Royal Academy of Arts from its Foundation in 1768 to the Present Time, 2 v., Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green, London, 1862, p. 191 (v2), N12 R7 S26 (YCBA) [YCBA]

H. W., John Gibson, R.A., Art Journal, vol 52, April 1866, p. 115, Available online: British Periodicals Collection II Database [ORBIS]


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