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

Venus, Mars, and Vulcan

c. 1551
Oil on canvas, 135 x 198 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Following various examples in fresco painting and graphic prints, Tintoretto presents a subject from classical mythology as a risque burlesque or farce, a story leaving a bitter aftertaste. Informed of the love affair between his wife Venus and Mars, the god of war, Vulcan, the smith of the gods, limps over from his forge, insultingly examining Venus to see whether, as he fears, adultery has actually been committed. Mars hides under a table - in vain, for Venus's little lapdog will give him away by barking. Meanwhile the god of love, Amor or Cupid, who is not entirely blameless himself, pretends to be asleep.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.