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Titian (c. ?1485/90 - 1576)

The Triumph of Love

A1287; oil on canvas, mounted on panel; 88.3 cm diameter

Prov: Gabriel Vendramin by descent to Andrea Vendramin by descent to Andrea Vendramin di Zamballotta Cristofano Orsetti Salvatore Drsetti Bartolomeo Bernardi Bernardi Family sold to John Udney his brother, Robert Fuller Udney Christie's, 19 May 1804, l

Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Ashmolean Museum, purchased (Virtue-Tebbs, Madan and Russell Funds) with the assistance of the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), Daniel Katz Ltd, the Frien; WA2008.89

Cupid, the god of love, balances on the back of an angry lion. A fantasy lagoon landscape denotes a Venetian setting. The power of true love over all other passions is celebrated here.

Titian painted this about 1545 for Gabriel Vendramin (1484-1552). He had a famous collection in Venice including medals, antiquities, drawings and paintings.

The painting has been cut down from a rectangular shape. It was originally the cover for a portrait of a noblewoman by Titian in Vendraminís collection. Emblematic covers protected paintings from scrutiny.