VERONESE, Paolo
(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

Mars and Venus United by Love

c. 1570
Oil on canvas, 205,7 x 161 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This is one of the greatest works by Veronese, whose brilliant use of colour and sensuous female figures influenced European artists from the time of Rubens to that of Delacroix. Together with four other allegorical paintings by Veronese, the picture was owned by Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. Although generally thought to show the goddess of love united by Cupid to the god of war, the picture has also been interpreted as showing Chastity transformed by Love into Charity; the horse restrained by an armed Cupid may symbolize restrained passion.