Young Couple

Young Couple is a c.1505-1510 Carrara marble relief sculpture by Tullio Lombardo, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.[1] It was previously known as Bacchus and Ariadne, whilst a recent study by Claudia Kryza-Gersch has suggested the alternative title of The Singing Poet and His Lover.[2]

Kunsthistorisches Museum 09 04 2013 Young Couple Tullio Lombardo.jpg

It shows two busts on a rectangular background, drawing on similar works not only in ancient Roman funerary portraits but also North European double portrait paintings, the latter also sometimes adopted by Venetian painters in the early 16th century.[3] Its mature classicism and the subjects' poetic mood also draws on paintings by Giorgione. A similar Double Portrait of a Young Couple is now in Venice's Galleria Franchetti. The possible depiction of its subjects as Bacchus and Ariadne seems to derive from Francesco Colonna's allegorical novel Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published in Venice in 1499, with a printed illustration of that pair in the same pose as the sculpture.[4][5]


  1. ^ (in German) "Catalogue entry".
  2. ^ (in Italian) Claudia Kryza-Gersch, “Il poeta cantore e l'amata”. Una nuova interpretazione per il Doppio ritratto di Vienna come Allegoria della musica, in Tullio Lombardo scultore e architetto nella Venezia del Rinascimento, Atti del Convegno di Studi (Venezia, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 4-6 aprile 2007), a cura di M. Ceriana, Verona 2007, pp. 69–79.
  3. ^ "WGA entry".
  4. ^ (in Italian) Pierluigi De Vecchi and Elda Cerchiari, I tempi dell'arte, volume 2, Bompiani, Milano 1999. ISBN 88-451-7212-0
  5. ^ "An Antiquity of Imagination - Tullio Lombardo and Venetian High Renaissance Sculpture".