Venere che benda Amore (c.1560-1565)

Tiziano (c.1488-1576)

Venere che benda Amore (Venus Blindfolding Cupid)
Oil on canvas, 118 x 185 cm
Galleria BorgheseRoma

In all likelihood, this painting entered the Borghese Collection in 1608, when it was given to Scipione Borghese by Cardinal Paolo Emilio Sfondrati. The circumstances of the commissioning of the work are unknown; similarly, it is difficult to interpret its meaning, as critics have proposed a variety of readings over time.

The splendid female figure seated on the left of the painting is shown as she resolutely blindfolds the winged cupid in her lap, while behind her a second cupid devotes his full attention to the operation. On the right, two women – most likely the nymphs Dori and Armilla – approach the scene bearing a bow and a quiver.

Critics believe that the work dates to the later years of Titian’s career, which were marked by a particular mode of applying colour, characterised by means of brushstrokes that produce vibrant illuminating effects. (GB)