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

Venus, Mars, and Vulcan (detail)

c. 1551
Oil on canvas
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Contemporary art-lovers recognized Tintoretto's recumbent Amor as a reference to what was then a famous statue of the Sleeping Cupid at the ducal court of Mantua: in the 'grotta' of Isabella d'Este, distinguished connoisseurs of art were set a puzzle by being shown, successively, the young Michelangelo's Sleeping Cupid — a homage to antiquity, or alternatively a fake — and a very similar sculpture said to be by the Greek sculptor Praxiteles (c. 350 BC). The visitors were then asked to say which was the old statue and which the new.