The subject of the present painting comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses (Book X) which tells of the fatal outcome of the love between the god Apollo and the mortal Hyacinth. According to the classical tale, Hyacinth died as a result of his own clumsiness when he energetically threw his discus during a match, fatally wounding himself in the head. Another version of the story recounts that the discus was thrown by Apollo, killing the boy when it rebounded off the ground or against a rock. In other versions it is the wind, Zephyr, who, jealous that Hyacinth did not return his love, blew Apollo's discus towards the young man. Unable to restore Hyacinth to life, Apollo decided to immortalise him by turning him into a flower which Tiepolo arranges in a beautiful clump next to the tennis racquet on the viewer's right.


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