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Venus and Adonis
Workshop of Titian
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Naked Venus, the goddess of love, throws her arms around handsome young Adonis to stop him from going out to hunt. The story is told in Book 10 of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. One morning when Venus departs in her sky-borne chariot, Adonis’s hounds rouse a wild boar, which turns on him. Venus hears Adonis’s groans, leaps from her chariot and finds him dying. From her lover’s blood she creates a fragile flower whose petals are scattered in the wind, named anemone (‘wind flower’ in Greek).

This picture is one of many versions of the subject painted by Titian and his studio. The most famous was delivered in 1553 to Prince Philip, later King Philip II of Spain and is now in the Prado, Madrid. The National Gallery’s canvas was probably painted by artists in Titian’s workshop over a brush drawing by Titian himself. It may have been used as a studio model from which further copies were made.

Key facts
Artist Workshop of Titian
Artist dates active about 1506; died 1576
Full title Venus and Adonis
Date made about 1554
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 177.9 x 188.9 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1824
Inventory number NG34
Location in Gallery Room 9
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