Compton verney

Sumptuous and saucy: Compton Verney’s Cranach show reviewed

‘Naughty little nudes,’ my history of art teacher used to say of Cranach’s Eves and Venuses. Aren’t they just? Coquettish and compact. Kenneth Clark thought they had ‘chic’. Cranach’s nudes are rarely truly naked. They wear Ascot hats, golden chokers, filmy wisps of gossamer girdle. Take the goddess in the National Gallery’s ‘Cupid Complaining to Venus’ (c.1526–7). Don’t you long for her to take off her ostrich feather hat and tickle you with it? ‘Hallo, Jungs.’ See how she plays footsie with a branch of the tree. How she brushes the back of her hand against its trunk. Note the double necklace. Always accessorise. ‘Cupid Complaining to Venus’ has been