(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)

Mercury and the Graces

Oil on canvas, 146 x 155 cm
Palazzo Ducale, Venice

Four almost square paintings by Tintoretto, Bacchus, Venus and Ariadne; Minerva Sending Away Mars from Peace and Prosperity; Vulcan's Forge; Mercury and the Graces) are set in stucco frames and arranged symmetrically on the walls of the Sala dell'Anticollegio in the Palazzo Ducale. Originally they were on the walls of the Atrio Quadrato (Square Anteroom) in the same palace. The four works have mythological or allegorical subjects and were originally part of a compact program to celebrate the good government of Doge Gerolamo Priuli. The figures and landscapes enshrine images of concord and prosperity and are classical in inspiration. The paintings were meant by the author to extol the unity and glory of the Venetian Republic.

In the Mercury and the Graces, the Graces intermingle, as complementary and contiguous as the sides of a die, flaunting the rose and myrtle of Venus under Minerva's olive tree. Mercury monitors this admixture of reason, love and peace.