Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Inspiration: Titian

Titian, Venus Of Urbino, 1538. (source)

Titian, Salome, 1515, (source)
I'm not usually overly fond of renaissance paintings, too smooth for me, no sign of the makers hand in it. But I do love them for their historical context, the importance of these works, the way that they are larger than life- and so well known that when you see one in person it can leave you starstruck. I felt that way about the Venus of Urbino, I saw it at the Uffizi,  and it just seems so ordinary there- sitting a wall- just a painting, but one that I (and countless others) had written papers about, and studied- it feels very odd, sometimes to see these works in person.

What I love about Titian's Venus, is she is one name only, the title could easily be the courtesan of Urbino, and in that way she flouts convention, the background is important- because at that time (and really up until quite recently) nudity was only acceptable in a mythological guise. But instead of standing on a seashell- this Venus is sitting on a bed- and looking out from the picture- another totally shocking element for the time. This painting is so influential as far as the way that women were painted as subjects, and so early to address that issue, I love it for that alone, though the composition is pretty great too.

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