The goddess Venus conceived a hopeless passion for the beautiful mortal Adonis, and here implores him to stay and love her, rather than go hunting. Adonis was later accidentally killed and anemones sprung from his blood. Ovid, 'Metamorphoses' (X, 665-740). Cupid is in the background.
This painting is a good workshop copy of the one finished for Philip II of Spain in 1554 (Madrid, Prado).
The painting was purchased from the Angerstein collection.