Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian, born ca. 1488, died 1576)
Oil on canvas
42 x 52 1/2 in. (106.7 x 133.4 cm)
The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, relates the story of the goddess Venus vainly trying to restrain her lover, the mortal Adonis, from departing for the hunt. The mood of playful sensuality conceals the tragic irony that Adonis is destined to be killed during the hunt by a wild boar. Titian painted two versions of the composition; one in 1545–46 for the Farnese family (lost)and the other in 1554 for Philip II of Spain (now in the Prado, Madrid). The present picture is a version of the earlier composition, and since cleaning (1976) can be seen to have been painted in large part by Titian.