Titian's Venus fills the canvas. The small shell floating on the water identifies the beautiful nude female as the goddess of love. The ancient Greek poet Hesiod described how Venus was born fully grown from the sea and blown to the shore on a scallop shell. Titian shows the goddess wringing her hair, a pose inspired by classical sculpture and by an account of a painting by Apelles, the most celebrated painter of ancient Greece. Titian's Venus proved that he could rival the art of antiquity and that he could make the ideal appear real. The painting is in exceptionally fine condition and was acquired from the Sutherland collection in 2003.