Venus and Adonis (c. 1555) by Titian

Venus and Adonis - Titian - c

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Artwork Information

TitleVenus and Adonis
Date1553 - 1554
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions207 x 186 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid
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About Venus and Adonis

Artist Titian’s Venus and Adonis painting is an emotional portrayal of the last meeting between the two characters from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The Renaissance-era painting completed in 1554 is known for its vivid use of color, detail, and contrast, reflecting Titian’s skillful use of light and shade to depict a dramatic scene. The painting depicts Adonis preparing to leave as Venus pleads with him not to go.

Titian’s interpretation differs from the traditional story where Adonis was killed by a wild boar while hunting. Instead, Venus pleads with Adonis to stay, creating an altogether different feel for the classic tale. Venus and Adonis was a popular subject in European painting at the time, also featured in Shakespeare’s poem of the same title. Over 30 versions exist today since its creation over four centuries ago.

In addition to Titian’s interpretation, Rubens created his own version during the Flemish Baroque period in the 1630s. With continued interest in this classic mythological tale spanning various periods of art history up until now, if you visit any art museum or gallery worldwide, you may encounter one version or another on display – very likely Titian’s unforgettable masterpiece!

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