Otto van Veen, Amorum Emblemata, p. 167. Antwerp, 1608. Call #: STC 24627a.5 Copy 1. Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

In this emblematic engraving – one in a series by van Veen – erotic love and its violence are tellingly located in a bedroom featuring a contemporary bed with tester and heavy curtains. A semi-nude woman stands beside Cupid lying on the bed wounded by an arrow. Cupid’s languid expression and his arm reaching out towards her convey a sense of love’s knowledge, which enfolds pain into pleasure, and blends danger into desire.