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Rokeby Venus

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Paintings of nudes and of Venus by Italian, and especially Venetian, artists were influences on Velázquez. However, Velázquez's version is, according to the art historian Andreas Prater, "a highly independent visual concept that has many precursors, but no direct model; scholars have sought them in vain". Forerunners include Titian's various depictions of Venus, such as Venus and Cupid with a Partridge, Venus and Cupid with an Organist and notably the Venus of Urbino; Palma il Vecchio's Reclining Nude; and Giorgione's Sleeping Venus, all of which show the deity reclining on luxurious textiles, although in landscape settings in the latter two works. The use of a centrally placed mirror was inspired by the painters of the Italian High Renaissance, including Titian, Girolamo Savoldo and Lorenzo Lotto, who used mirrors as an active protagonist, as opposed to more than merely a prop or accessory in the pictorial space. Both Titian and Peter Paul Rubens had already painted Venus looking into a mirror, and as both had had close ties to the Spanish court, their examples would have been familiar to Velázquez. However, "this girl with her small waist and jutting hip, does not resemble the fuller more rounded Italian nudes inspired by ancient sculpture".

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