The Sleeping Venus and Olympia

Topics: Venus of Urbino, Giorgione, Édouard Manet Pages: 2 (485 words) Published: April 23, 2012
art comparison
Compare and Contrast: The Sleeping Venus and Olympia
Ben Storms

The Sleeping Venus/Dresden Venus, Giorgione with landscape and sky by Titian. 1510

Olympia, Ĕdouard Manet. 1863

The Sleeping Venus, or Dresden Venus, is by Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione. It is one of the last works but Giorgione and the landscape and sky were actually finished by Titian after Giorgione’s death in 1510. The painting portrays a nude woman lounging in slumber. A great deal of effort was put into the shadows and details of the background. As a result, the woman’s position seems to mimic the landscape of the background. One aspect of the painting that was so revolutionary is Giorgione’s choice to paint the woman nude. This wasn’t common of his era and is widely regarded as the beginnings of modern art. Besides the obvious eroticism of nudity, there are underlying implications of eroticism in the positioning of the woman. Venus’s raised arm and her left hand place on her groin imply sensuality. Another underlying theme to this piece in that of the human body being a natural, organism object of the earth. This is related by the curves of the landscape reflecting those of Venus. A unique detail to be noted is that of the color of the sheets. It is more common to see a warm tone in fabric of the time. But, in this piece they are a stark and contrasting silver. This further accentuates the soft and organic nature of Venus and the landscape. Olympia is oil on canvas by Edouard Manet. Painted in 1863, it is of a reclining nude woman being attended by a maid. It was inspired but Titian’s Venus of Urbino. The contrast of this piece to Giorgione’s The Sleeping Venus, is that this piece has more to do with the realism of the subject matter then the fact that the woman is nude. This woman, seeming to be a courtesan is being presented with flowers, thought to be a gift from a client. This...
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