The Triumph of Venice celebrates the flourishing of the fine arts under the Doge Lionardo Loredan, governor of Venice in the early sixteenth century.
A female personification of Venice is enthroned upon a triumphal car drawn by two winged lions, the attributes of St. Mark, Venice’s patron saint. To her left Doge Loredan gestures toward harvest offerings, symbolizing the region’s agricultural bounty from the goddess Ceres, who reclines in the lower right corner. To Venice’s right, the goddess Minerva, patroness of the fine arts, presents putti bearing attributes of architecture, music and drama, painting, sculpture, and poetry. Neptune, the mythological patron of the Venetian Republic, points out the city to Mars, the patron of Rome. Above Venice are the figures of Fame, with trumpet and laurel branch, and double-faced History, her older face looking back to Venice’s glorious past while her younger aspect contemplates her record of the city’s equally glorious present. To the right of Fame, Mercury presents a history of the Republic’s achievements to a group of ancient sages and historians.
At some time in the history of this painting, the extended leg of the figure of Neptune was painted over, possibly at the whim of a previous collector, and has now been uncovered as the artist originally intended.