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Image of 'An Allegory with Venus and Time' by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, about 1754-8.

'An Allegory with Venus and Time' by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, about 1754-8

This small painting shows Venus delivering a boy to the winged figure of Time.

Time has laid aside his scythe, the blade of which is silhouetted against the globe of the Earth at the base of the painting. As her two doves embrace in the sky above, Venus bestows a loving gesture on the baby with her left hand, and in the upper right of the picture, the Three Graces bless the child by scattering flowers.

The boy is thought to be Venus’ son. His lack of wings suggests that he is not Cupid, but is instead Venus’ only human child, the Trojan hero Aeneas.

The painting was probably carried out as the central decoration for a ceiling in a palace belonging to the Contarini family in Venice. It may have been commissioned to celebrate the birth of an heir in the family.

© The National Gallery, London

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