TIZIANO Vecellio
(b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia)

The Birth of Adonis

Oil on wood, 35 x 162 cm
Museo Civico, Padua

The two panels in the Padua museum, The Birth of Adonis and The Legend of Polydorus, are so-called cassone paintings, made to be set into wooden chests as a form of decoration. Each work shows an episode from Ovid's Metamorphoses, divided into three scenes.

In the centre of The Birth of Adonis is a group of people who are freeing the baby Adonis from the branches of the tree his mother has been turned into. The motif of the lovers on the left is a reference to his conception, and on the right the figure of Venus, who will fall in love with him, refers to his future.

The attribution of these two works to Titian is disputed.