Study of Venus for 'Pygmalion'

Edward Burne-Jones 1833-98

Pencil on paper, drawn between 1868 and 1878

Accession number LL3817

drawing of venus

Purchased by Lord Leverhulme at the artist's studio sale in 1919 for the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Burne-Jones painted a series of four oils telling the story of the legendary sculptor Pygmalion and the Image. Pygmalion fell in love with the statue he had made of a beautiful woman. He prayed for help from Venus, the goddess of love, who brought the statue to life.

The drawing is a nude study of a model in the pose of Venus. In the finished painting she is dressed in flimsy draperies. She is holding out her arm to help the statue step down from the pedestal.

The oil painting 'Pygmalion and the Image, no.3: The Godhead Fires', 1878, by Edward Burne-Jones is in the collections of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.