"Venus and the Lute Player" by Titian

In Titian’s “Venus and the Lute Player” (ca. 1565–70), Venus, the goddess of love, reclines on a sumptuous bed as a well-dressed youth serenades her with a lute. Behind her, a tiny Cupid reaches up to crown her with a garland of flowers. Beyond the three figures, an open window looks out onto an expansive, lushly painted vista, where satyrs and nymphs can be glimpsed playing under the trees. Titian and his workshop produced multiple iterations of this subject, and some scholars believe the works are meant to allude to debates about how beauty is best perceived – through the eyes (the lutenist gazing at Venus) or through the ears (the music). This version hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.



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