- Reference number
- Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio, Tiziano]
- The Worship to Venus
- 172 cm x 175 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de tocador”, 1794, nº 40; Royal Palace, Madrid, “habitación del infante don Carlos-quinta pieza”, 1814-1818, s.n.)
A multitude of cupids meet to make an offering of fruit to the statue of Venus, the goddess of Beauty and Love. Two nymps appear at the right of the scene.
The composition is derived from one of the seventy-four paintings which Philostratus (ca. 170-245) saw or imagined, and described in his Imagines (Imagines I, 6). It was the first piece Titian was commissioned to paint for the “Alabaster Chamber” of Alfonso I d'Este. In April 1518, the painter received instructions about the subject matter, and probably a sketch by Fra Bartolommeo as well.
Titian gives special importance to the cupids here. Unlike the preparatory work, they are the center of the composition here, and many of them are derived from well-known classical statues.
This painting was made along with other works, such as The Bacchanal of the Andrians (P00418), for the so-called “Alabaster Chamber” of Alfonso I d'Este in Ferrara. In 1598, the group of works was moved to the Aldobrandini Palace in Rome and in 1637, Niccolo Ludovico turned them over to Felipe IV (1605-1665) by way of the Count of Monterrey as payment by the State of Piombino. The first documented mention of the present work in Spain is in the inventories of Madrid's Alcázar Palace from 1666, 1686 and 1700.