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Follower of Titian, Mythological Scene

Key facts
Full title Mythological Scene
Artist Follower of Titian
Artist dates active about 1506; died 1576
Date made probably 1530-1600
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 76.2 × 132.1 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1882
Inventory number NG1123
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Mythological Scene
Follower of Titian

Reminiscent of Titian’s style, this painting is typical of the kind of mythological scene made for learned, private patrons in Venice that he helped pioneer. Cupid, god of love, raises his arrow to pierce a woman embracing a youth who holds a golden apple.

The central couple may be Hippomenes and the virgin huntress Atalanta, who challenged her suitors to race with her. Hippomenes won the race when Atalanta stopped to pick up the golden apples he threw down. Alternatively, they may be Adonis and Venus, goddess of love; when Cupid accidentally pricked Venus with one of his arrows she fell in love with Adonis.

The background scenes relate to the legend of Adonis. On the right, Myrrha is driven from the house by her father whom she had seduced. She calls on the gods for help, turns into a myrrh tree and gives birth to Adonis. On the left, Adonis is gouged by a boar. Hearing his groans, Venus and Cupid race through the sky but Adonis dies. Venus laments over Adonis' body.

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