Oil on canvas. 180.5cm by 150cm.
The story of Venus and Adonis appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Venus begged Adonis not to go on the chase, warning him of the danger posed by the tusks of wild boars, but he ignored her fears and was killed by a boar.
The painting, which is first recorded at Burghley in the 1738 Inventory, was probably acquired by John, 5th Earl of Exeter (1648-1700) in 1699 during his fourth and final visit to Italy.
The Genoese-born Gaulli was one of the leading artists in Rome during the latter part of the 17th Century and one of the principal painters patronised by the 5th Earl.