The subject of this scene of idyllic love is taken from Catullus, Carmine XV. Both the round shape and composition are indebted to Raphael's Madonnas. The background includes the rose, traditionally the symbol of love, and orange trees. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1868, it was praised by critics, who noted with approval Leighton's chaste treatment of the scene.
image © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford