Ariosto and Schiavona, Titian

Ariosto and Schiavona, Titian
Ariosto and Schiavona, Titian

Titian was one of the most versatile artists of all time and to his credit he has a vast collection of canvases created by himself, each one of greater relevance. He cultivated various pictorial genres, being also a famous portraitist, so here we are going to analyze two of his most outstanding portraits of him stylistically, although perhaps not so well known The portraits of Ariosto and Schiavona.

The first time news of Ariosto's portrait appears was in the 17th century when the work belonged to the Alonso López collection and later to that of Anton Van Dyck. The work must have been quite well known in Northern Europe since it seems that Rembrandt himself was inspired by it to make the Self-Portrait with an Embroidered Shirt.


The work depicts a bearded young man in profile, whose face is turned insolently to look slightly over his shoulder at the viewer. The posture leaning on the wooden frame is actually very casual; it has little to do with the typical portrait poses that mostly used to be more serious and less dynamic.

In this sense we must emphasize the work of Titian shows some influences of which for some time was his predecessor, Giorgione. In addition, on the wood on which the young man appears leaning, the letters T. V. can be read as an acronym forTiziano Vecellio although some authors suggest that perhaps it was the letters V.V. the acronym used by Giorgione, this would explain the similarities between the works of both authors.


But if specialists believe that the piece is due to Titian's brushes, it is precisely because of its similarities with another portrait, La Schiavona; an oil on canvas that, like the previous painting, is currently on display at the National Gallery in London. In the same way as the previous portrait, we find a three-quarter layout, although this time the image of the lady appears framed by a marble plaque on which the artist's initials can be read and on which a trompe l'oeil as if it were a relief in which the young lady is represented in profile as was customary in ancient cameos.

Actually, the identification of the characters in both paintings is today the subject of debate among art experts. Apparently the identification of Ariosto, Italian poet, does not correspond as such, being in fact a young man of noble family. In the same way, the Schiavona, who by her name might think that it is a Dalmatian woman, has been represented as the Venetian ladies of the time did.

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