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In order to pursue his ambitions in France, Henry VIII formed an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. This painting records their meeting and the main events pertaining to Henry’s first campaign against the French in 1513.

The composit

An introduction to European armour in the Royal Collection

Antonio Canova (1757-1822)

Mars and Venus 1815-19

RCIN 2038

Grand Entrance & Marble Hall, Buckingham Palace

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Mars and Venus was Canova's response to a commission from the Prince Regent, later George IV (1762–1830), for a figure group in marble marking the defeat of Napoleon. The celebrated sculptor, whose art so often explored the power of seduction, presents the God of War literally disarmed by Venus's powers. The group also plays with the notion of vulnerability, since armour is both a sign of strength and an admission of weakness.The illicit love of Venus and Mars seems especially poignant here because Venus's husband, Vulcan, was the armourer of the Gods. The plumed helmet, shield, spear and sword are all of generalised ancient form, and the helmet is decorated with a British lion in tribute to the patron of the group.  The prince's request to have his own profile carved on Mars's shield seems to have been ignored.