Giovanni Bellini and Titian’s "The Feast of the Gods" is one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in the United States by two fathers of Venetian art.
In this illustration of a scene from Ovid's "Fasti," the gods, with Jupiter, Neptune, and Apollo among them, revel in a wooded pastoral setting, eating and drinking, attended by nymphs and satyrs. According to the tale, the lustful Priapus, god of fertility, stealthily lifts the gown of the sleeping nymph Lotis, as seen in the painting. A moment later, he will be foiled by the braying of Silenus' ass and the assembled deities will laugh at Priapus' misadventure.
The "Feast" was the first in a series of mythologies, or bacchanals, commissioned by Duke Alfonso d'Este to decorate the camerino d'alabastro (alabaster study) of his castle in Ferrara. Some scholars have proposed that "The Feast of the Gods," though painted years later, contains cryptic references to the duke’s marriage to Lucrezia Borgia, which took place in December 1502.
What secret meaning do you think this painting might hold?
Giovanni Bellini and Titian, “The Feast of the Gods,” 1514/1529, oil on canvas