- Reference number
- Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
- 237 cm x 216 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, salón de los espejos-cuartos principales, 1700, nº 3; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 32; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, antecámara de su majestad, 1772, nº 32; Palacio Real, Madrid, antecámara, 1814-1818, nº 32).
Sisyphus, king of Corinth, climbs the mountain carrying a boulder, as he was condemned to do for eternity by Pluto, god of the underworld. Sisyphus had very cleverly tricked the gods numerous times, and even managed to escape death, itself. In order to prevent him from escaping after his death, Pluto obliged him to carry a boulder to the top of a mountain, but it always fell down just before he reached the top.
Along with Tityus (P00427), Tantalus and Ixion, this work is part of the group known as the Condemned or the Furies, which Titian painted at the behest of María de Hungría (1505-1558), who was the sister of Carlos V (1500-1558). The latter two works were lost when Madrid's Alcázar Palace burned in 1734. They were conceived with a moral purpose, as a warning to those who dared defy the Emperor in his struggle against the Protestants.
This work entered the Prado Museum in 1828.