The Venus of Urbino

Topics: Venus of Urbino, Grande Odalisque, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres Pages: 6 (2203 words) Published: September 14, 2009
The representation of the female nude in art history exists in abundance; as does the prototype from which these nudes are styled. The focus of this essay will be the masterpieces Venus of Urbino, 1538, Titian Vecelli painted in the period referred to as the High Renaissance; being a study of methods systems and standardized practice of art. Along with Grande Odalisque, 1814, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, painted during the Neo-Classical period; concerned with the ideal, harmonious, naturalistic style of art. Titian and Ingres were considered some of the most important artists of their time; credited with being both progressive and conservative. Noting the paintings and painters alike stand on their own as genius, their individual contributions are monumental to the respective movements. Despite their separation of close to three centuries, an important comparative link the artist share is through using old forms and new content always referencing previous standards and canon to produce original work. Through identifying each work through their individual form content and context the two works will be contrasted. Titian is considered to have been the greatest 16th-century Venetian painter, and the shaper of the Venetian colourist and painterly tradition. He is one of the key figures in the history of Western art. Tiziano Vecelli was born in the north of Venice, in 1477; he was trained by both Bellini and Giorgione, and after Giorgione's early death in 1510 it fell to Titian to complete a number of his unfinished painting (Goffen 1997). His works were increasingly sought after ,his unexpected gift as historian as a witness and interpreter of the reality of his time, through the vehicle of his portraiture(Farrera 2002), here lies the possibility to follow both the stylistic and human progress of the Titian's influence on later artists: he was supreme in every branch of painting and revolutionized the oil technique with his free and expressive brushwork and adoption of canvas. The history of the period 1517-1642 Italy is very interesting. The Protestant Reformation happened in the beginning of 1517, and soon spread to include most of northern Europe. The Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation began in the Catholic Church about the 1530's (Hill, 1980). Most art in this period was based on the canon of the Renaissance generally, classical ideal naturalism derived from the ancients; the private parts of the nudes were covered in the next few decades. About 1530, the year in which his wife died, a change in Titian's manner becomes apparent. The 1530s are marked by relative quiet, pictorial subtlety, and colourist refinement, as exemplified by the Venus of Urbino 1538-39, Uffizi, Florence. The strong, simple colours used here, and the artist's evident pleasure in the silhouetting of dark forms against a light background, reappear throughout the work of this period.

The Venus of Urbino was painted for Guidobaldo della Rovere, the heir of Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. The pose of this Venus brings to mind that of Giorgione's Sleeping Venus in Dresden (it is believed the young Titian had completed after Giorgione's death) the intent of the painting is quite different. Titian's Venus has nothing to do with Giorgione's idealised image of female beauty; it is normally interpreted as a metaphor of marital love. There have been some suggestions that there might be a connection with the wedding of Guidobaldo della Rovere and Giuliana Varano in 1534(Hill, 1980). A splendid female nude of a goddess, later copied by eighteenth and nineteenth century artists, comfortably reclined covered with cushions, and holding flowers. Probably the most important aspect of the painting which should not be overlooked is the contrast of light and shade produced by the pale body of Venus on an equally pale sheet, standing out against the dark wall behind. Architectural motifs are used to enhance the drama of the scene where...
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