Friday, 22 June 2018

Art Critique - Titian - Oil on canvas

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English, was born somewhere between 1488 and 1490 (must have been a long pregnancy!) and died on 27 August 1576 (can't tell you the exact time).

He was an Italian painter and the most important one of the 16th Century Venetian school.

He was known as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (a line from Dante's "Paradiso") because of his mastery of the paintbrush. You can see above his self portrait painted in about 1567. 

He was very versatile painting portraits, landscape backgrounds and mythological and religious subjects and was famous for his use of colour - no black and white monochromes from good old Titian.

The subject of our video today is Titian's masterpiece entitled "Venus and Organist and Little Dog" painted in 1550.

It is worth remembering that there have been many paintings and sculptures of Venus by many artists over the years, but this one is perhaps the most studied. Traditionally, old masters and sculptors have often used nudity as part of their art, for example Michelangelo's David, Rodin's The Kiss, and Ruben's fully rounded female nudes. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. However, Titian's interpretation of Venus is the one that has caused most controversy. There have been many versions of this painting by Titian, and it is believed that they were perhaps painted by his pupils in his "studio" which explains why they all bare his name.

In the painting Venus is shown naked reclining on pillows playing with her small dog. A musician beside her at the end of the bed is playing with his organ. Although his back is to her, he has turned round to admire her ample figure. This has led to debate and various theories. Why is the musician not facing the musical organ in front of him and has turned round to look at Venus? Was it forbidden in those days to look at Venus? Was he perhaps taking a quick glance? Or was he in that position for longer? How does Venus feel being ogled or admired in this fashion?

Study the painting carefully, look at the characters, what they are doing, and why. Look at the expression Venus' face? And his face too. Remember, this is a famous painting by a famous artist painted over 400 years ago. What is the painter, Titian, trying to tell you here? Why did he paint this scene the way he did? Is it realistic? What does the whole tableau meant to represent?

We will discuss this painting later. The video with music only lasts two minutes to give you time to study it properly.

18 comments:

  1. Titian! I love his red.

    "...was born somewhere between 1488 and 1490 (must have been a long pregnancy!"

    YAAAArgh...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for today's thoughts on this beautiful painting from 400 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a strange painting Christine. There are many other versions, all with the same theme. A different musician looking backwards. I wish I could understand it.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  3. It's very hard to understand what any artist is thinking and what kind of message he/she wants to get across to their audience. I'm sure there are lots of discussion about this painting and it would be interesting to hear some of it. Sometimes I think people can over analyze a piece of art. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I thought, Bill. It's that it just seems so strange to have the musician turning his head this way. I wondered whether it was wrong or forbidden to admire Venus.

      God bless.

      Delete
  4. I agree with Mr. Burke (above) that sometimes artworks are over-analyzed. Whether you like an artwork, or not, if it sparks discussion (even controversy) it has accomplished what it was meant to do. If it causes one to ask a question, laugh, cry, or even get angry... there you have it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri, I have often painted the garden gate and fence. Never did it spark discussion amongst my neighbours or anyone else. Are you saying it is not artwork? I know it made me angry at the time because I stepped into a pot of paint.

      God bless.

      Delete
  5. This bit of history is fascinating, Victor. First impressions? Venus strikes me as a very wealthy, pampered ... very bored individual who wouldn't give an underling the time of day. Unfortunately, I can't make out the musician's face, nor his expression.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oddly enough, Mevely, that's what I thought about Venus. She looks more like the lady of the manor and the musician a servant of some sort. She does not seem to care that he is looking at her. I wonder what Titian had in mind when he painted this.

      God bless.

      Delete
  6. It is sometimes difficult to truly understand a painting … perhaps the enjoyment is to stand or sit quietly to look and admire.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point Jan. The thing is, by sitting down and admiring the painting I feel as if me too am ogling Venus; just like the musician. Is that the reaction Titian wanted from the viewer?

      Thank you for your return visit.

      God bless.

      Delete
  7. I think she looks a bit bored.
    Our idea of what a woman should weigh has certainly changed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right Happyone. She looks as if she doesn't care. Very odd painting.

      God bless.

      Delete
  8. She landed the perfect kick at the end. Gotta love it, Victor!
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad I made you smile with the end bit of the video, Martha.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  9. Did you say “ playing with his organ”? No I must have misread that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trust you to notice that, Manny !!!!!

      God bless.

      Delete

I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...