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Venus and Adonis

Painting, 1554, 186×207 cm

Description of the artwork «Venus and Adonis»

How come that Titian Adonis of the Prado and the main Spanish collector of Bosch's works – literally one person? What does Titian and his painting was to the matrimonial plans of Queen of England Mary Tudor, known as bloody Mary? Why is that Venus on the painting by Titian depicted from the back, "blame" Danae? Archiv gathered the answers to these and other interesting questions.

What is happening in the painting by Titian?


Zolotorudnaja goddess Venus knows that her lover Adonis (a shepherd, a hunter and an extraordinary handsome) to die on the hunt and therefore struggling clings to him, begging him to stay. But Adonis is adamant about his determination and says the spear in his hand raised up, and derivadas to stay at the same place, smelling the prey dog. Look Adonis, which he gives Venus a top-down, indifferent and cold: apparently, Cupid had time to hit with a love arrow heart of Venus, at the wrong time NAP on the hill, and his bow and quiver of arrows hang in the tree. In an embarrassing u-turn, expressing her fervent impulse to prevent the inevitable, Venus leg knocked over the bowl (a symbol of the love of intoxication) is not a good sign. A peaceful morning, a beautiful hilly landscape with lumen bright blue sky between the sturdy oaks, at first glance, do not portend trouble, but the chariot of Aurora in the sky is already illuminated by the rays of a grove of trees – hunting place, where lurked wild boar, tusks from which Adonis will die. From the drops of his blood will grow red anemones, symbolizing death and eternal rebirth of nature, but it will be then. Titian takes a moment dramatic and passionate, when, contrary to all predictions, Venus believes that the power of love can save him from death.

The painting is full of movement. The dynamism of the composition is determined by and complex, helical pose of Venus, and the confident grace of Adonis is released from these tenacious arms, and the position of the sleeping Cupid, partially otzerkalivayut the position of Venus, and is transmitted looking hunting dogs – Giorgio Vasarifor example , as one of the main advantages of paintings called truthfulness, which is written of the dog.

"Venus and Adonis" inspired by the "Metamorphoses" of Ovid, the ancient sculptural reliefs and works of sculptor Lorenzo Ghibertiwritten by Titian in a loose, energetic manner and during the life of the master have gained much popularity. Performing the first song of this scene in the middle of the 1540-ies for cardinal Alessandro Farnese (lost), and in the mid 1550 creating a "canonical" version is presented now in the gallery of the Prado, Titian about two dozen times will return to "Venus and Adonis".

How is it that Titian Adonis of the Prado and the main Spanish collector of Bosch's works – literally one person?


Oh, it's just easy! A series of paintings of mythological content (Titian himself called them beautiful word ROAE) in 1553 or 1554 the artist ordered the future Spanish monarch Philip II. With this order came to light not only the "Venus and Adonis", but also "Danae"(stored now in Apsley house, residence of the Dukes of Wellington), "Diana and Actaeon", "Diana and Callisto"created later "Abduction Of Europe"etc. it is Known that Philip II greatly hastened elderly artist (though not hurry him time to pay) – the monarch was not anxious to become the owner of their coveted poesis, in General, he was, in a sense, obsessed with art. For example, gaining control of the rebellious Netherlands, Philip II literally fell in love with creativity Hieronymus Boschthanks to what a number of recent works will be in Spain and not even suffer from the Inquisition, despite, to put it mildly, the dual nature is depicted. Read more about Philip II Archiv told here.

Well, Titian received the order on roee, decided to give the Adonis a tangible portrait likeness by the customer. Maybe he elegantly flattered Philip II, because in a figurative sense called Adonis a very handsome man.

What does Titian and his painting was to the matrimonial plans of Queen of England Mary Tudor, better known as "a bloody Mary"?


"Venus and Adonis" as well as other RAEE, Philip II ordered just for the occasion of his marriage to Mary Tudor – he moved to his wife in England and was in a hurry to decorate their new home to their own taste.
Like other Spanish monarchs, Catholic Philip fought with Muslims and Protestants, but his new (second) wife Mary Tudor was even more Catholic than he is. She believed that her mission is to return Britain to the Catholic Church, during her reign the country was executed around 300 Protestant bishops and preachers, that's why, according to the biographer of the Queen Carolly Erickson, in England there is no monument to Mary Tudor – with the exception that the survivors of the Queen the nickname "Bloody Mary".

Mary Tudor was significantly older than Philip II: at the time of marriage she was 37 years old and he is only 26. And it is worth mentioning that none other than Titian directly contributed to the fact that in Mary's heart broke a sense to the Spaniard.
Many years Titian was the favorite artist and the companion of his father Philip II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire of Charles V and Titian equestrian portrait of Charlesis considered a reference image of the monarch. That's why Carl invited by Titian, when, in 1551, the year it took to write a representative portrait of his heirwho planned to send the intended bride to England.

"Philip was not handsome, says the biographer of the artist Alexander Makhov to describe this Titian portrait of a future owner of the Spanish crown and the prototype of Adonis. – But Titian was able to give him a painful and unattractive face, fringed with a scraggly beard, a noble expression. It polyerase with a gold notch, and a rich suit. In his left hand he holds the hilt of his sword, and the right for a feathered hat lying with knight's gloves on a table covered with crimson velvet. Extended slightly forward, the figure is light, and in the sight of the Prince, facing the viewer, felt will and hidden power. Pouring left light lights slightly turned face and slim in bright stockings legs with disproportionately large feet. The light scattered on the metal armor and crimson tablecloths table. Titian knew that the portrait should evoke sympathy overripe picky bride who has rejected many applicants, himself striving for her Royal hand. Therefore, according to the fashion of those years, he tried to emphasize in the costume of the young heir and groom rather frivolous detail, talking about his manhood.".

Thus, in "Venus and Adonis" Titian continued his own trend of a picture-compliment: she not only caressed the eye with balanced composition and harmony of color, but flattering the Royal vanity.

It remains to add that the Royal marriage was not happy: Mary is suffering from the coldness of the spouse (almost like Venus from the indifference of Adonis), and after it became clear that her pregnancy was false (for it took the Queen a pathological condition – a cyst of the ovary or cancer of the uterus – which will die in 1858, the year), Philip II left his wife and returned to Spain. Favorite paintings of Titian and other great masters followed him.

How is that Venus in the Titian picture shown from the back, "blame" Danae?


The image of the goddess Tiziano managed to find a rather unusual and exceptionally expressive perspective. Thought that this brave discovery – portraying Venus from the back and besides having to love the initiative (in the art of those years, the role traditionally assigned to men) – brought the eroticism of the image to the limit: according to some information, women picture sometimes had to hide behind a curtain.

Women back, became the center of the composition in "Treason"(1570) Veronese and Rubens "The Toilet Of Venus" (1615), is seen as a homage Tiziano.

Preserved a letter from Titian to Philip II, dated in the summer of 1554, where the artist explains his crowned to the customer, what considerations guided him in the image of Venus: "I hope that the painting "Venus and Adonis" will bring the same delight to Your eyes, and still works by Titian, Your slave. Since "Dana", which I already sent to Your Majesty, the figure depicted on the front, I decided to show another poesie figure from the back, so that the Cabinet, in which they both will be on display, began to look much more attractive".

Why Titian again and again "Venus and Adonis"?


Indeed, this picture (as "Danae" - see details in the description of the picture) became the artist's "serial" – he and his workshop executed about two dozen "Venus and Denisov". In addition to the Prado, your version of this pattern have National gallery (London), National gallery of art (Washington), National gallery of ancient art (Rome), Ashmole Museum (Oxford), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) and The Metropolitan Museum of art (new York)and "Venus and Adonis", in 2005, acquired by a Russian collector at auction in Saint-Germain-EN-Laye as a copy by an unknown master, recognized specialists of the Pushkin Museum of Titian's original.

"Venus and Adonis" in different years, came from the workshop of Titian, are not identical: while maintaining the overall composition, they differ in nuances. In other versions of Titian eliminated the similarity of Adonis and Philip II, "Roman" Adonis dressed in hunting hat and Adonis "Moscow" is the winner of most classic head – which is not surprising: it is assumed that this is an early original that Titian executed during his stay in Rome or immediately after his return to Venice.
Such frequent repetition of the same composition, as it is banal, explainable by the demands of the market.

This story became very popular among the educated European elite, and Titian responsive to demand. Hunt as a metaphor filled with the dangers of human life and love, struggles seeking to overcome death, resonate in the hearts of people today.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Mythological scene

Style of art: Renaissance

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1554

Size: 186×207 cm

Artwork in selections: 13 selections

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