Thursday, December 6, 2007

Art-o-fact: Titian

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1485 – August 27, 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory.

Titian, Self-Portrait

Recognized by his contemporaries as "the sun amidst small stars" (recalling the famous final line of Dante's Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits and landscapes (two genres that first brought him fame), mythological and religious subjects. His lifespan was an unusually long one for his times. He enjoyed glory as one of the most renowned painters of the first half of his career. But as the Italian Renaissance spread its way into techniques of the Northern Renaissance, his manner drastically changed as well. However, what unites the two parts of his career is his deep interest in colour--he is spectacular with his palette for vivid images. His later works may not contain vivid, luminous tints as his early pieces do, yet their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations have no precedents in the history of Western art.

Source aid:

Highlighted Work:
"Venus of Urbino"
Titian, 1538
Oil on canvas
119 × 165 cm
Uffizi, Florence

Titian mastery of oil painting is vividly and concisely shown in this work. The "Venus of Urbino" depicts a nude goddess Venus, reclining gently on a couch or bed in the glorious surroundings of a Renaissance palace.

The pose is based on Giorgione's "Sleeping Venus," but Titian uses more sensuality in comparison to Giorgione's sublime remoteness. The frankness of her expression is remarkable; she has no shame in laying there naked and exposed.

Giorgione, "Sleeping Venus," 1510

Renaissance artists often played with the ideas of fertility and virility through their works. Titian is no exception to this signature. He delicately places a posy of flowers in her right hand, to make illusion to her ability to be fruitful of birthing. Her left covers her pubic area and acts as the centre of the composition. Perhaps this leaves a level of imagination to the viewer and provocatively urges them to be aroused by what it is that they "can not" see.

The dog in the background is a omnipresent affirmation of male virility and again nudges the symbolization of her fertility.

This remarkable work is devoid of any classical or allegorical illusion. Here, Venus is represented as a mere woman of beauty, not an unattainable goddess of worship. Titian makes his Venus accessible to everyone.
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