Venus of Urbino

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Comparing Venus of Urbino

Through inspiration from Giorgiones’ Sleeping Venus, Titian a younger contemporary, developed the standard for the female nude, in his Venus of Urbino. Unlike his predecessor, Giorgione, Titian’s painting is one of the first indoor nudes in the renaissance era. The painting portrays a reclining nude in oil, her body softly rounded is unapologetically sensual and her attributes are painted as a commoner instead of a goddess. The compositional aspects of the painting must be noted as well. Venus’ hand and genitals are placed in the immediate center of the painting, as though she is toying with herself, the sensually explicit painting also displays Venus frankly staring directly at the viewer almost seductively. A dog is placed near her feet; some argue that the dog is a symbol of loyalty. The intention of Titian in his Venus of Urbino is a much-debated topic, whether or not the painting is an allegory for lust or a symbol of faithfulness in marital love is undecided. One thing is definite Titian’s Venus of Urbino is a staple of the female nude and it has influenced a multitude of artists. In 1863, Edouard Manet composed Olympia, which was largely inspired by Titian’s Venus of Urbino. This painting was also scandalous just like Venus of Urbino. “Manet’s painting of a nude prostitute and her black maid carrying a bouquet from a client scandalized the public” (781). The combination of both a black maid and a prostitute caused outrage in the French public. Manet’s style and artwork were questioned and he ultimately stopped painting what was accepted at the time. Olympia, which was a common name for a prostitute in the 19th century is displayed reclining across a bed just like Venus. She stares directly in the viewers eye, not sensually, but uncaringly or undaunted. The paintings composition displays her with her hand hiding her genitals near the center of the portrait, nearly identical to Venus of Urbino. Other similarities...
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