Sacred and Profane Love

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Iconographical Analysis:
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Sacred and Profane Love, Titian-1514
Alison Parke
Mr. Gregg
February 7th 2013

Iconographical Analysis:
-------------------------------------------------
Sacred and Profane Love, Titian-1514
Alison Parke
Mr. Gregg
February 7th 2013

Sacred and Profane Love (also known as Venus and The Bride) is a famous painting done by an idolized artist during the 1500s named, Titian. When taking a quick glance at this masterpiece, it’s simply two women sitting on a rock with a baby in-between. After looking deeper into the painting and its meanings, it is clear that there are various iconographical pieces and stories in the painting. This exquisite work of art is a prime example of high renaissance. Although there are many stories and symbolism behind the different aspects of this painting, the real meaning will forever be unknown.

Tiziano Vecelli, more commonly known as Titian, was a famous painter during the 1500s whose mark in art history has, and will always live on. He was born around 1440 in Cadoe, Italy, to an un-artistic family consisting of lawyers. As a young child, he quickly learned the value of money and management. As a young child, he and his family moved to Venice where he was pushed to study art. Before the age of fifteen, he studied under three well-known Venetian artists: Zuccato, Gentile and Bellini. Giorgione was his ultimate teacher. Titian was inspired by his bold, contemporary style of art. Titian took this style, added a robust twist and made his own works of art.

During Titian’s long career as a very talented painter, he became famous for his colourful, patchy paintings. Under all of his paintings, he would apply a reddish-brown background in order to add depth and warmth- a Venetian tradition. He was recognized for his fantastic portraits and beautiful landscapes, consisting of dreamy clouds-another one of his trademarks. All of his works demonstrated strong iconography and poetic stories occurring in society. Art historians from all over the world have struggled to find the meanings of Titians paintings and the deep symbolism behind them. But with so many different theories, the real meaning will forever be uncertain. The dissection about Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love will continue to be investigated due to the complicated and various symbolic meanings.

Hundreds of historians have spent hours trying to investigate the meaning behind this work. But with uncertain theories, we will never be sure what this painting truly is telling us.

Originally this piece was intended to be a happy, inspirational celebratory work to commemorate the marriage of Nicolo Aurelio and Laura Bagarotto. But throughout the piece there are many symbolic meanings, such as the contrast between the two women seated on the fountain shaped sarcophagus. The obvious contrast between these to women is much deeper than their means of dressing. The lady on the left is in a rich looking dress with crisp draping and embellishment where as on the right, a bold coloured piece of cloth is draped over the lady. Through the representation of her dress, the figure on the left is intended to be warm and caressing and signify marital, sacred love. Her arm is resting upon a closed jug representing love. On the other hand, the figure on the right is a more open person showing the side of profane love. She is holding her hand above her head grasping a tiny torch as a symbol of faith in her husband. The figures are of the same lady, both representing two versions of Venus and giving off a youthful glow. She is repeated to illustrate before and after marriage; comparing the freedoms and enjoyment. In between the two women is a winged putto, representing cupid leaning over to play in the fountain.

The surrounding articles also serve a purpose to symbolize deeper meanings than they appear to have. The stone that the ladies are sitting on is a stone...
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