Birth Tray: The Triumph of Love

'The Triumph of Love' is a 'desco da parto' (or birth tray). These were originally used in Florence for bringing food to pregnant women, and seem to have become traditional gifts at birth.

The subject is loosely derived from Petrarch's 'Triumphs'. Love stands on a richly decorated chariot while in the foreground Aristotle is ridden by Phyllis and Delilah shears Samson's hair while he is sleeping. Aristotle ridden by Phyllis is an incident not found in Petrarch. The story relates how Aristotle falls in love with Phyllis, who demands that he be bridled and carry her on his back.

Key facts

Artist dates
1415/17 - 1465; about 1403 - after 1480
Full title
Birth Tray: The Triumph of Love
Date made
probably about 1453-5
Medium and support
Egg tempera on wood
61.8 x 62.1 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by Henry Wagner, 1924
Inventory number
Location in Gallery