Venus and the Lute Player

Dublin Core


Venus and the Lute Player


Venus, Lute Player, Cupid


Titian and his workshop treated the theme of Venus and a musician at various times during the latter part of his career. He may have worked on this version sporadically over an extended period leaving it unfinished at the time of his death. The landscape is characteristic of Titian's work of around 1560. Following his death, certain parts such as Venus's face and hands were brought to a much higher degree of finish.

Much has been written about the meaning of Titian's paintings of Venus. In addition to celebrating love and music (Venus pauses from making music to be crowned by Cupid), they have been thought to address the Neo-Platonic debate of seeing versus hearing as the primary means for perceiving beauty.


Titian and Workshop (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice)


Munsey Fund, 1936
?Cardinal Carlo Emanuele Pio di Savoia, Rome (in 1624; inv., 1624, no. 74); Cardinal Carlo Pio di Savoia, Rome (in 1664); principe Giberto Pio di Savoia, Rome (in 1724; inv., 1724, no. 195); principe Pio di Savoia, Rome (until at least 1742; inv., 1742); Sir Thomas Coke, later Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall, Norfolk (until d. 1759); his widow, Margaret, Countess of Leicester, Holkham Hall (1759–d. 1775); Sir Thomas Coke's nephew, Wenman Roberts Coke, Holkham Hall (1775–d. 1776); his son, Thomas William Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall (1776–d. 1842); Thomas William Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall (1842–d. 1909); Thomas William Coke, 3rd Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall (1909–30; sold for $200,000 to Duveen); [Duveen, London, Paris, and New York, 1930–36; on loan to National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, November 1933; sold to MMA]

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

oil on canvas

Physical Dimensions

65 x 82 1/2 in. (165.1 x 209.6 cm)



Titian and Workshop (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice), “Venus and the Lute Player,” Mapping Mythology: A Digital Collection of Classical Mythology in Post-Antique Art, accessed December 6, 2021,