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This is one of a series of four paintings by Veronese that concern the trials and rewards of love, although their precise meanings remain unclear. The compositions are designed to be seen from below, so we know the pictures were intended for a ceiling or a series of ceilings.

A naked woman with her back to the viewer sits between two clothed men, exchanging a note with one of them. It is inscribed with red letters which appear to spell either 'che / uno possede', meaning 'which one person possesses', or Ch. / mi. p(ossede) meaning 'which/who possesses me' - the dots indicating illegible letters. The inscription may mean 'she who has one man (should be satisfied)' or possibly 'she who has one l...

c. 1575
Oil on canvas
189.9 x 189.9cm
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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