Cranach, who has proudly indicated his authorship on the cartellino prominently positioned against a dark ground, introduced in this elaborate manner an Italian pictorial subject into the North European painting repertoire, one that draws on works by Botticelli and is impressively represented by Lorenzo Costa's Venus. Clear parallels between the two works led to the suggestion in earlier research that Costa's painting served Cranach as a direct prototype. However Costa's work was identified as one of the paintings sent in 1518 as a gift by Gianfrancesco II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua to Francis I, King of France, thus dating it about 1515/18. Moreover Friedrich III of Saxony had already announced his interest for Italian artworks as early as 1507 in a letter to Gonzaga - particularly those by Gianfrancesco's court painter Andrea Mantegna - and had offered the Mantuan duke works of similar quality by German artists - here he probably had works by his court painter in mind. There is no record that Cranach spent time in Italy, which poses the question of where he may have encountered such Italian prototypes and in this respect it would appear that the animated communication between the European courts is a factor not to be underrated.
[Görres, Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017, 148-149, No. 60]