According to Greek myth, Aesculapius, god of healing, was abandoned as a baby on a hillside. He survived by suckling from a nanny goat and was protected by a guard dog. He was rescued by a shepherd attracted by the baby’s dazzling aura, enhanced here by the bright white coverlet on which he lies. Tognolli emphasises the nurturing qualities of the goat and the watchfulness of the dog. In the foreground a snake winds itself around a branch in a natural allusion to the symbol of Aesculapius and medicine itself.