Offering to Venus, Titian

Offering to Venus, Titian
Offering to Venus, Titian

The work we are analyzing here is one more example of the skill of the Renaissance painters to draw inspiration from classical antiquity as well as the importance of the commissions that these required. It is possible that the work is reminiscent, due to its composition and theme, of another canvas that we have already analyzed here, The Bacchanal of the Andrinos, also painted by the Renaissance artist Tiziano; not in vain the two works were commissioned by the Duke of Ferrara for the decoration of hisAlabaster dressing room in the Palace of the Este family in Ferrara


As we already pointed out in the comment of the previous work, the iconographic program that governed the famous dressing room does not seem entirely clear, although the experts are inclined to think that it must have been governed by the cult of celebrations and if Although the Bacchanal of the Andrinos represented the cult of the Bacchus Goddess of Wine, The Offering of Venus does the same with the Goddess of Love.

Both pieces are also inspired by the descriptions made in the literary work Images of Philostratus the Younger. On the other hand, we must point out that Titian was commissioned to decorate the Camerino after the death in 1517 of the painter Fra Bartolomeo; This was the one who had received the first commission to carry out the work of The Offering to Venus and when Titian received the commission a year later, he not only had to follow the dictates of the narration of Philostratus but alsoit also had a preparatory drawing that Fra Bartolomeo had made of the composition.

The canvas was the first time that the Venetian artist recreated a theme from antiquity and perhaps for this reason the freedoms in terms of composition are less than in later works, although very significant. Titian relied more on the Images than on Bartolomeo's drawing so that he represented the offering to the goddess Venus in a natural and open space. In the lower left corner there are two nymphs who are located next to a statue of the goddess, although some authors suggest that more than nymphs, they are two prostitutes who come to the celebration to honor the goddess of love, who is represented by a marble statue.

However, the real protagonists of the canvas are the numerous little angels –also known as cupids or puttis- that populate the meadow. There is a large crowd of them and each one with a different attitude or posture, so while some kiss lovingly, others eat or pull each other's hair in an affectionate fight. It is precisely from the incorporation of these angels that Titian manages to recreate a perspective in the composition, the traditional idea of ​​incorporating architectures in painting has given way to a perspective based on characters in which the framing is natural and the color one of the greatest protagonists of the composition according to the paradigms of the Venetian school.

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