Investigate the ways artists develop visual codes and visual language to communicate ideas in their artworks. Refer to a range of artists and artworks.
Artists develop visual codes and visual language to communicate ideas in their artworks. This is specifically seen through Giorgio da Castelfranco (Giorgione), Tiziano Vecellio (Titian) and Édouard Manet, where each artist successfully incorporates their own ideas into their artwork. Titian and Giorgione are both Italian painters born in the same century – Giorgione in 1477/8 and Titian in 1488. Manet however is a French painter and was born in 1832, coming from a completely separate century. Each artist has an artwork that features a reclining nude where they communicate their own techniques and ideas into the works. The use of the reclining nude conveys the role of the woman as perceived by men as an object to be viewed or desired.
Giorgione came from the small town of Castelfranco Veneto in Venice. He was extremely influential to other artists and was one of the initiators of High Renaissance style in Venetian art. There is little record of his early life, however it is shown that Giorgione served his apprenticeship with Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini in 1490, who is well known to have revolutionised Venetian painting. His colour, technique and mood of his paintings are clearly related to Bellini’s late style. Giorgione died in 1510 in Venice, Italy at age 33. He was known to be the first Italian to paint landscapes with figures as moveable pictures in their own frames, and the first to use glowing and melting intensity in his works.
One of Giorgione’s works includes the artwork Sleeping Venus or The Dresden Venus created in 1510. It is oil on canvas and measures 108 by 175cm. The reclining figure is used across the whole width of the painting making a long, continuous slope of body where the goddess’ curves echo the curves of hillside, easing the viewer’s gaze and relaxing the eyes. The landscape consists of buildings, trees and mountains. The use of an external landscape to frame a nude is innovative where the glowing landscape fills the space behind her, framing her spirituality. Venus’ sensuality is explored through her red lips and the deep red velvet and white satin material on which her pale body lies. The outlines of the body are blurred to create a gradual transition from the main focus of the body to the surrounding backdrop. Giorgione uses tones of light and dark to create an illusion of three-dimensionality. He successfully achieves the expression of remoteness and unself-conscious beauty as a majestic and idealistic figure. Universal beauty is used to express Venus as a goddess. To add mystery, Venus being asleep means that she is spirited away from accessibility to her conscious expression. Giorgione was conscious of a viewer gazing at the painting as he tilted Venus’ body in such a way so that all of her ideal aspects are clearly visible to the viewer. She appears to be floating over the ground in an effort to show off her lovely form.
Titian was apprenticed to Giorgione for three years and finished Sleeping Venus after Giorgione’s death in 1510. This artwork became one of the greatest themes of European art with the nude in an idealised landscape setting. Venus was not painted for sexual desire but was painted merely as a goddess sleeping, unaware of a viewer peaking on her. Giorgione developed a large range of visual elements to direct the viewers’ gaze and to communicate his subject and purpose to the viewer.
Titian left his hometown of Pieve di Cadore at the age of 9 or 10, to also study with painter Giovanni Bellini in Venice. His first documented reference was in 1508 where he met Giorgione and was commissioned to paint frescos with him. Giorgione highly influenced Titian’s style by teaching him figures in ideal settings and creating moods such as fear, mystery and passion. Titian’s colours became deep and intense, but harmonious...
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