Sine Cerere et Baccho Friget Venus
A key to the interpretation of this remarkable and peculiar image can be found in an engraving after a drawing by Abraham Bloemaert, which probably served as a model for the painting. In its lower part the engraving contains a Latin text by the ancient Roman comedian poet Terentius: "With- out Ceres and Bacchus, Venus grows cold", i.e. love needs food and wine. Unlike the print, however, between the bare breasts of the goddess of love, the artist added an engraved gem with the figure of the Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva – an unequivocal warning of prudence and modera- tion.