Venus and Adonis is a painting by the Italian late Mannerist artist Paolo Veronese, executed in the early 1580s, now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
The original painting was enlarged by 50 cm in the upper border in the 18th century. This added section was removed in a restoration in 1988, so the work recovered its original horizontal format.
The painting’s subject is taken from Metamorphoses, a narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid. It portrays the hunter Adonis sleeping in Venus’ lap. In front of her is her son Cupid, with a sighthound. Cupid is portrayed while trying to quench the dog’s desire to hunt, as Venus had forecast that Adonis would die during a hunt. In the background is a lively green landscape, with a vivid blue sky. The painting was executed after Veronese had spent a period in Rome. He modelled his Cupid on the Hellenistic sculpture of a boy with a goose, while Adonis may be modelled on an illustration of Endymion on a Roman sarcophagus in the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran.
The pendant of this painting, also created by Veronese in the same period, is Cephalus and Procris. It portrays another tragic couple from Metamorphoses, and is now in the Museum of Fine Arts of Strasbourg.