- Inventory number
- Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
- Venus with an Organist and with Cupid
- Ca. 1555
- 150,2 cm x 218,2 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, bóvedas de Tiziano, 1700, nº 484; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 6; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 6; Casa de Rebeque, Madrid, 1794, s. n.; Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, sala reservada, 1827, nº 53).
Accompanied by a dog and reclining on a bed in front of a window through which the gardens of a villa are visible, Venus listens to the music played by an organist.
There are five known works by Titian on the subject of Venus and Music, and all follow the same model, though the organist is sometimes a lutenist and the dog is sometimes Cupid (Prado Museum [P00420, P00421], Staatliche Museum of Berlin, Metropolitan Museum of New York and Fitzwilliam Museum of Cambridge).
These paintings have been interpreted in a variety of manners. Some historians see them as simple erotic scenes, while others consider them neo-platonic allegories of the senses, in which vision and hearing are instruments for knowing beauty and harmony.
This work is believed to have been given to Carlos V (1500-1558) by Titian in Augsburg in 1548. The emperor then gave it to Cardinal Granvela. It later belonged to the Count of Cantecroix and Emperor Rodolfo II, who gave it to Felipe III (1578-1621). The scholar, Cassiano del Pozzo, first lists it in Spain in the 1626 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace and it reappears in the inventories of 1666, 1686 and 1700. It entered the Prado Museum collection in 1827.