Inventory number
Titian [Vecellio di Gregorio Tiziano]
Venus with an Organist and a Dog
Ca. 1550
138 cm x 222,4 cm x 3,5 cm
On display
Colección Real (Francesco Assonica, Venecia, 1622; colección Carlos I, Londres; coronel John Hutchinson, Londres, 1649; Luis Méndez de Haro, Madrid; Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1666; Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1686; Real Alcázar, Madrid, pinturas que se llevaron a la Armería, 1734, nº 27; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 7; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 7; Casa de Rebeque, Madrid, 1794, s.n.; Casa de Campo, Madrid, 1809; Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, sala reservada, 1817-1827, nº 58).

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, probably the first of the series, belonged to the legal expert, Francesco Assonica. It differs from the others in the individualization of both figures' facial features, giving it the appearance of a portrait. It was later acquired by Charles I of England. When the latter's possessions were auctioned, it was purchased by Luis Méndez de Haro for the collection of Felipe IV (1605-1665). It entered the Prado Museum collection in 1827 and is listed for the first time in Spain in the 1626 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace.

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