About this monumental painting Jacques-Louis David wrote: “This is the last picture I want to paint, but I want to surpass myself in it. I will put the date of my seventy-five years on it and afterwards I will never again pick up my brush.”
Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces was one of the last paintings by, began in 1822 when he was 73, living in self-imposed exile in Brussles. When the painting was complete in 1823, David sent it to Paris, where his former students flocked to view it.
In the massive canvas — 3 meters tall — Mars, the god of war, succumbs to the alluring Venus, who crowns him with roses - an emblem of submission to the pleasures of the flesh. Venus is pale, and much thinner and more delicate than the voluptuous depiction common at the time. The three graces frolic in the background, offering wine to Mars and playing with his armor.
Reed Enger, "Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces," in Obelisk Art History, Published September 25, 2015; last modified February 13, 2019, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/jacques-louis-david/mars-disarmed-by-venus-and-the-three-graces/.