Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 17271804), after Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 16961770)
Etching; sheet 18 7/16 x 12 1/16 in. (46.8 x 30.6 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1957 (57.619.5)
This lovely composition celebrates the birth of a child, whom Venus consigns to Saturn in his role as Father Time. The Graces sprinkle roses, and the doves that draw Venus' chariot kiss overhead. The child was once identified as Cupid, yet his lack of wings and the presence beneath him of a winged infant with a quiver are obstacles to that interpretation. On the other hand, the winged child may be delivering the sheaf of arrowswhich seems too heavy for himto the newborn. Other suggestions for the baby's identity are Venus' son Aeneasan appropriate subject if the room contained stories from Virgil's Aeneidor a son from the noble family that commissioned the work.