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WITH REMARKS CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY.
Of all the divinities of the mythology of the Greeks, Love is the personage whose birth has the most exercised the imagination of that people, so smitten with allegory. According to some writers, Love existed from the beginning of all things, with the earth and chaos. He united himself with chaos, and from that union, not only men and animals, but even the immortal gods received their birth. Others are of opinion, that eternal night, preceding the birth of every sort of being, lay an egg, which she covered with her ample wings, and gave birth to Love, who spreading on a sudden his golden pinions, took his flight around the rising world. Other traditions denominate as the parents of Love, Chaos and the Earth, Mars and Venus, Zephyrus and Eris, Cœlus and Venus, Venus and Vulcan, Jupiter and Venus; in short, the God of Wealth, and the Goddess of Poverty. Of all these opinions, alike created by an allegorical fancy, that which makes Venus the mother of Love, has been the most generally adopted. As being the son of the Goddess of Beauty, he has had temples and altars devoted to him in several countries of Greece. Sometimes he divided with Venus the homage of mortals, at other times he was considered the object of a particular worship.
Among the received traditions on the birth of Love, Le Sueur has chosen that which offered a pleasing com
position, which he has delineated with as much dignity as simplicity. Extended upon a bed of an elegant form, Venus casts an affectionate look upon the young god, to whom she has just given birth, who is presented to her by one of the Graces. The two other companions of the goddess contemplate Love, and admire his beauty. A female with wings, undoubtedly one of the Hours, scatters flowers upon the infant. The delightful scene passes in the midst of the heavens, and under a serene sky.
This picture was painted, as well as others that embellish this publication, for the ceiling of a cabinet of the Hotel Lambert, at Paris. The figures are in proportion about three feet.