The three heads allude to the three ages of man: youth, maturity and old age. The inscription is arranged in three sections associated with the respective heads underneath.
The left head resembles Titian himself in old age; the bearded central man has been thought to represent his son Orazio, while the youth may depict his cousin and heir, Marco Vecellio (born 1545).
The triple-headed beast - wolf, lion and dog - is a symbol of prudence.
On loan to the exhibition 'Tiziano e il Ritratto di Corte da Raffaello ai Carracci' at the Museo Capodimonte, Naples from March to June 2006.