A porous medium finite element model of the passive left ventricle is presented. The model is axisymmetric and allows for finite deformation, including torsion about the axis of symmetry. An anisotropic quasi-linear viscoelastic constitutive relation is implemented in the model. The model accounts for changing fibre orientation across the myocardial wall. During passive filling, the apex rotates in a clockwise direction relative to the base for an observer looking from apex to base. within an intraventricular pressure range of 0–3 kPa the rotation angle of all nodes remained below 0.1 rad. Diastolic viscoelasticity of myocardial tissue is shown to reduce transmural differences of preload-induced sarcomere stretch and to generate residual stresses in an unloaded ventricular wall, consistent with the observation of opening angles seen when the heart is slit open. It is shown that the ventricular model stiffens following an increase of the intracoronary blood volume. At a given left ventricular volume, left ventricular pressure increases from 1.5 to 2.0 kPa when raising the intracoronary blood volume from 9 to 14 ml (100 g)−1 left ventricle.