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The artist took the theme from the dialogue of the gods, placed in Virtus, a work of Leon Battista Alberti. Virtue wants to complain about Fortune and the plight of the humans, but Jupiter does not listen to her, as he does not want to enter into a dispute with Fortune. The painting, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting paintings, also in terms of iconography, was painted for Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara.

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The painting depicts Jupiter sitting at the easel and painting butterflies. Behind him there is Mercury, who is turned towards the approaching Virtue and who is making a gesture ordering her to be silent so as not to disturb the god who is preoccupied with his work.
The artist took the theme from the dialogue of the gods, placed in Virtus, a work of Leon Battista Alberti. Virtue wants to complain about Fortune and the plight of the humans, but Jupiter does not listen to her, as he does not want to enter into a dispute with Fortune. The painting, which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting paintings, also in terms of iconography, was painted for Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara. Since 1659, it could be found successively in the collections of Lodovico Widmann in the Palazzo Canciano in Venice, Michelangelo Barbini's widow in Venice, and Daniel Penther, the Vienna painter. Subsequently, at the auction of the latter's legacy, it was bought by Karol Lanckoroński in 1888, and it was kept in the Palais Lanckoroński in Vienna until the World War II. In 1952, Karol Lanckoroński's heirs donated the painting to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, in exchange for permission to take the family collection out of Austria. It was recovered by legal action taken in court in the year 2000.

Elaborated by Joanna Winiewicz-Wolska, PhD (Wawel Royal Castle), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Painting “Jupiter, Mercury and Virtue (Aurora?)” by Dosso Dossi

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