A vestal of –93, trying on the cestus of Venus
33.8 cm x 40.1 cm (13 5/16 in. x 15 13/16 in.)
(London, 1757 - 1815, London)
Medium and Support:
Etching and aquatint
Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 2002
Vestal Virgins were female priestesses in ancient Rome who were responsible for maintaining the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta. In this print, an inattentive priestess and her three clumsy putti have knocked over her altar while trying to tie on the cestus of Venus, a band meant to awaken love. A parody on this peculiar fashion trend in 1793, this love-starved woman remains unappealing even with the aid of the cestus.