Thanks to Ruthie for her insights.
So a male is almost boorish in his exhaustion after intercourse. There’s not much new there. What’s curious is her. She is staring at him, but I’d venture that gaze is more business than anything else. She’s fully clothed. Sure, she has to be that way, otherwise this is 15th c. porn. But she’s a bit on the overdressed side, no?
She’s looking past the satyrs. Are they part of her gaze, part of her fantasizing? I don’t think so; I’m tempted to say the relation between Love and War is all in his head. I’m differing a bit with the National Gallery who claims this is “love conquers all” and siding more with the idea that there may be a drug in the lower right-hand corner.
He’s about to get a rude wake-up call from the satyr with the shell between his lance and him. But he’s also getting bitten up by wasps and the most devilish satyr in the lower right has his breastplate, probably the most important part of his armor. He’s been tempted into something: is he shirking his martial duties?
Perhaps not. The satyrs are executing a plan of sorts and laying siege. They’re armed because of him. He’s satisfied. War attempts to conquer and is gleeful in victories true or false. That’s when the falling-apart begins. Truth be told, there’s ample reason for one who would be dressed like a knight to not be subordinate to Love. He’s supposed to be noble. Love is had when duties are accomplished and honors bestowed. And yet this picture is anything but that.
The real relation between Love and War is that war happens because people love. That can be rendered playfully, to a degree. I imagine part of the experience of war is realizing the seriousness of love. If she’s staring at him like “he’ll never get it,” that brings us back to an almost Homeric theme. Things that are trivial to the gods – beauty contests, playing favorites, etc. – are deadly serious here on Earth.