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Titian’s Venetian Venuses
There is no other artist who more readily embodies the celebrated tradition of
Venetian Renaissance painting as does the gifted Titian. Due in part to his notably long
and prosperous career, his oeuvre stands as a diverse body of work that perfectly displays
the beauty, grandness, and brilliance of the Italian Renaissance. From his early Religious
works, to his mythological images, and his many portraits, Titian repeatedly returns to the
representation of the female form. Whether he is depicting the Virgin Mary, an elite
Venetian lady, or Danae, Titian seems to best express his artistic merit in his depictions
of women. As Rona Goffen suggests, his “professional investment in paintings of women
is so striking that it may be related to his deepest creative impulses”. (Goffen Venus of
Urbino, 1) It is in the figure of Venus in particular that Titian’s creativity and artistic
mastery is fully realized.
As the goddess of love and beauty, Venus “personifies the equation of beautiful
art and the beautiful woman”. (Goffen Titian’s Women 126) As those in the business of
creating beautiful things, artists have often used the image of the beautiful woman in
order to present their artistic contributions to the world. In keeping with this tradition,
Titian uses Venus as a means of representing his greatest skills as a painter. On another
level, the goddess can even be said to symbolize the contemporary views on painting.
The great artistic debate of the Renaissance involved the concepts of the Florentine
designo, or the focus on careful, precise drawing represented by the art of Michelangelo,
and the Venetian colorito, or the focus on the use of color, represented by the work of
Titian. In the contemporary rhetoric, these aspects of the art of painting were gendered
masculine and feminine respectively. Perhaps by choosing to paint the female form of
Venus, Titian is embracing his feminine style. In painting Venus, Titian is able to show
his mastery of the human form, his use of vivid color, his knowledge of the Classical
tradition, and his belief of painting as superior to sculpture.
In addition to their connection to painting itself, the Venusian imagery are directly
connected to the Cultural and Social ideals of Renaissance Italy. Whether embodying the
contemporary ideal of beauty, challenging the era’s norms of female sexuality, or
symbolizing the marriage state, Titian’s Venuses can be read through multiple cultural
lenses and interpretations to offer a wealth of insight into the position of women in
Renaissance society. It is precisely the figures’ ambiguity that sparks the most interest in
as well as the most debate over these works.
Due to the fact that the nude female figure will always carry with it some
association with the erotic as well as raise questions of sexuality, it is impossible to deny
the sensual aspects of Titian’s Venus images. Yet the classification of all of these women
as courtesans, or as sexual objects whose sole purpose is for the viewing pleasure of
Renaissance men, not only robs these works of their complexity and of their value, but is
also taking the easy way out. If Titian merely intended to paint pornographic images of
women, why then would he go to the trouble of referencing the Classical past, of creating
complex narrative, of referencing literary traditions, and of using the figure of Venus to
embody the greatest elements of the art of painting? Far from being merely sexual
objects, Titian gives great psychological depth and individuality to his many Venuses. In
fact, Titian portrays a wide ranging spectrum of variations on the Venus figures, proving
that the goddess and more importantly women in general, are diverse, complex, and
Titian references the familiar, Classical form of Venus most explicitly in
his work Venus Anadyomene (1530). Here the goddess is clearly identified through the
attribute of the shell in the bottom left-hand corner, a reference to her birth. Titian paints
her as she emerges from the sea, wringing out her tousled hair as she becomes aware of
some unseen observer. The work is a modification of the classical Crouching Venus
composition which depicts the goddess, who has been surprised at her bath, in a
crouching position with one arm raised to cover her breasts. Titian’s figure, although
standing, has been cropped slightly above the knees alluding to the tradition of the
goddess in the crouched position with her knees close to the ground. This Venus returns
the gaze of her onlooker but makes no effort to conceal herself. She stands her ground
refusing to be intimated and perhaps is even inviting the viewer to gaze upon her natural
beauty in all its glory. So too is Titian inviting his viewer to gaze upon the beauty of his
painting as he proudly asserts his connection to the art of antiquity.
With the Venus Anadyomene, Titian is making a direct reference to the
renowned Classical Greek painter Apelles and his lost work of the same subject. As
recounted by Pliny in his Natural History, Apelles painted an image of Venus emerging
from the sea for his patron Alexander the Great which the later found to be so
naturalistic, so beautiful that he rewarded the painter with the gift of his mistress.
Throughout his career Titian actively encouraged comparisons between himself and the
great painter of antiquity, and by painting the very image for which Apelles was so well-
known he is asserting himself as his successor (or even as his superior). As Luba
Freedman notes, it is Titian’s “self-establishing as an excellent portraitist and as the
painter of Venus, which were the two categories of painting in which Apelles had
excelled” that suggest the Venetian artist’s desire to connect his career with the venerated
Classical tradition. (Freedman “Titian and the Classical Heritage”, 194)
In addition to asserting his own artistic skill in the painting Venus Anadyomene,
Titian is also asserting the primacy of painting over sculpture, of colorito over disegno.
The minimalist background allows for the volumetric figure of Venus to project in a
sculptural manner that is perhaps a reference to Michelangelo’s figures on the Sistine
ceiling. (Goffen, Women, 132) Venus is given a dimensional quality associated with
sculpture but is more naturally depicted in the painted medium as the introduction of
color endows her with flesh tones that bring her further to life. Titian also employs
Venetian colorito to emphasis the landscape of the sky and the sea, elements not
achievable through the medium of sculpture. Perhaps too, the figure of Venus can stand
in as a symbol for Venice, “for had not Venice risen from the sea, as alluring as the
goddess herself?” (Bull, Mirror of the Gods, 207)
Like the Venus Adonymede, the figure in Venus with a Mirror (1555) is
indubitably identified as the goddess herself, in this instance due to the presence of cupid.
She is at her toilette, admiring her beauty in the mirror, when her attention is suddenly
claimed by the entrance of an observer. Her gaze is directed at the (presumably) male
viewer, as his gaze, as well as our own, is directed at her. With this in mind, Titian’s
painting can be read as symbolic of the sense of sight. As Goffen elaborates, “The Venus
with a Mirror is (partly) about vision, about being seen, about reality and its reflection,
and about the exaltation of beauty that is embodied in the goddess and knowable through
sight”. (Goffen, Women, 136) For the men and women of the Renaissance, there existed
the concept of a hierarchy of the senses, of which sight was believed to be superior. Just
as the beauty of Venus is knowable only through this highest sense, Titian’s skill as a
painter is apparent through sight alone.
Along with sight, the sense of touch is explored in Venus with a Mirror through
the luxurious deep red velvet and fur mantle draped around Venus’s body. It is the
juxtaposition of this textile element with the white, glowing flesh of the goddess that not
only highlights Titian’s unmatched painterly style, but also the sensual connotations
associated with the nude female figure. Through the application of paint, he is providing
the viewer with “a flesh and blood” (Prince of Painters, 302) version of the goddess, one
that would no doubt appeal to his contemporaries’ appetite for the sexualized image of
feminine beauty. Titian uses the medium of oil paint to the fullest advantage to combine
Venetian colorito and textural definition that rely on both the senses of sight and touch.
As Paola Tinagli recounts, “the erotic power of painting lies in the development of those
techniques that allow the viewer to experience the figure in has imagination also through
the sense of touch, which is evoked by the sense of sight”. (Paola Tinagli, Women in Ital
Renaissance Art, 141)
In addition to suggesting the sensual sense of touch, the mantle also contributes to
the erotic nature of the work by symbolizing the unseen male viewer who is taking in
Venus’s beauty. As this garment is distinctively male, its presence in the work asserts the
missing male presence. X-radiography of the work has revealed that the canvas originally
presented a Venus figure closed in the feminine and classical garment of a white chemise
standing next to an elite male figure. Titian reworked the man’s velvet and fur trimmed
mantle so that it is now wrapped around the nude Venus. He may have erased the male
figure, but he left visual references to his presence. As Goffen acknowledges, “[t]he coat
is, in a sense, his inanimate surrogate, wrapped around Venus in a self-embrace that he
would wish to emulate”. (Women, 138) By possessing the male garment, using it as her
own, Venus is asserting her conquest over her male viewers. Titian’s goddess is not a
passive figure shyly and silently submitting to being admired, but one that is very much
in control of and confident in her own beauty and sexual appeal.
The motifs of the gaze, the senses, and the self-assured goddess are also key
elements of Titian’s variations on the theme of Venus with Musicians. By combining the
concepts of music and hearing with beauty and sight, these paintings connect the goddess
with contemporary Renaissance cultural traditions. In Venus with an Organist and
Cupid (1548), the presence of her winged son once again safely identifies the figure as
the Roman goddess. In his later composition Venus with an Organist and Dog (1550),
Titian replaces the identifying symbol with a small dog begging to be petted. In the
former work, Titian depicts a young, boyish musician while in the later he presents a
more mature mustachioed man. Perhaps this is to suggest that all men regardless of age
are in danger of falling under the spell of a beautiful woman.
In spite of the addition of the male figures in these paintings, Venus remains the
focal point for the musicians as well as for the viewer. In both variations, the nude Venus
reclines on her side upon a bed covered in brocaded velvet while the male organist turns
his head to gaze unabashedly upon her naked form. While Venus may be aware of his
gaze, she cannot be bothered to acknowledge or return it. It is through this figural
exchange Laurie Schneider Adams asserts, that Titian “orchestrates met and unmet gazes
with displaced erotic subtexts”. (Adams, Cambridge Companion to Titian, 231) Unlike
many of his other Venusian works in which the goddess returns the gaze of her admirers,
in this thematic grouping Venus is more self-reflective.
The goddesses’ feminine beauty is enhanced through Titian’s depiction of her as a
calm, nurturing figure capable of psychological musings. He “add[s]to the sensuousness
of her graces a sense of quiet and repose disturbed only by the playful instincts of the
little animal” or by her playful son. (Prince of Painters, 294) In spite of the lascivious
attentions of the male musicians, this Venus is not merely an objectified representation of
female sexuality. By giving her psychological depth, and associating her with the
pleasures of a cultured society, Titian is reconfiguring the mythological figure in the
context of the Renaissance. His Venus therefore comes to embody an ideal Venetian
female figure who is cultured, maternal, reflective, and sexual (within the confines of
marriage), one who is meant to be worshiped and admired. As Goffen describes, “[t]he
goddess whom men worship with their music and adore with their eyes is, therefore, not a
bridal Venus; but neither is she a courtesan. She is, instead, the epitome of all beauty and
the embodiment of all sensuous pleasure, including sexual pleasures of the flesh”.
In Venus and Adonis (1554), Titian uses the figural pairing of the goddess and her
lover the hunter Adonis to address the human nature of Venus. Here the goddess is
depicted as the victim of love as opposed to her normal role as the object of love. The
work is among the mythological poesie he created for Phiilp II of Spain and therefoe
denotes his reinterpretation of the classical literary tradition as he uses Ovid’s
Metamorphoses as a narrative source. The moment depicted is one created by Titian
himself. It marks the narrative point in which Adonis is embarking on the hunt that will
ultimately bring about his death. Fearful of the dangers that might befall him, Venus
desperately tries to prevent him from leaving. She is no longer the dignified and
indifferent representation of the feminine ideal, but is instead a frantic woman who is
trying to exert every possible power and strength within to inhibit the man she loves from
In a gender role reversal, the Venus of this work is more masculine than feminine.
Titian depicts her as aggressive, as almost violent in her physical attempts to restrain
Adonis, and as completely driven to destruction by love. Once again, Titian has expertly
produced in his rendering of Venus a complex psychological depth that cannot fail in
inciting the sympathy of the viewer. His goddess is more than a beautiful object she is a
feeling human being worthy of respect. As Goffen further expands:
Venus is conceived with a psychological complexity generally denied women in art and literature, that is, she is allowed to express the kind of complex emotion normally experienced only by men, at least in painting and poetry. Expressing passions familiar to a Renaissance audience as masculine, Venus invite the (male) beholder’s empathy. (Women, 248)
Here Venus embodies the passion and torment often inflicted by love. The narrative
invented by Titian allowed for the artist to depict a very human goddess with dynamic
and powerful emotion that corresponds with the Renaissance notion of the masculine.
The narrative also allowed the Venetian painter to depict an alternative view of the
goddess as he changed the figural composition.
Titian’s Venus and Adonis is unique as it is the only Venus figure he depicts from
the rear. Abandoning his usual composition of the frontal standing or reclining figure,
Titian turns Venus away from the viewer so that are back and bottom become visible as
she twists at the torso and presents her profile as she looks up at Adonis. She is half
perched on a cloth as representative of the precarious nature of love. The artist is
certainly advertising his ability to represent the human body from a multitude of
perspectives. Ludovico Dolce was in fact greatly impressed by Titian’s naturalistic
depiction of Venus as viewed from behind as well as the painter’s ability to suggest her
intensely felt emotions. As he recounts in a letter to Alessandro Contarini describing the painting:
The Venus has her back turned, not for want of art—as in a certain painter’s performance—but to display art in double measure…she everywhere evinces certain feelings which are sweet and vital and such that they are not seen except in her. With her too, there is a marvelous piece of dexterity on the part of this divine spirit, in that one recognizes in the hindmost parts here the distention of sitting. Yes indeed, one can truthfully say that every stroke of the brush belongs with those strokes that nature is in the habit of making with its hand. Similarly, her look corresponds to the way one must believe that Venus would have looked if she ever existed… (qtd. in Roskill, Dolce’s Aretino and Venetian art theory, 215)
Dolce like many of his contemporaries recognizes the artistic merit in Titian’s innovated
work, and his expertise as a painter.
Yet again, the artist uses the medium of painting to reference sculpture and to
proclaim the former’s superiority over the latter (as well as his artistic superiority over his
competitor Michelangelo). Titian in fact plays up the sculptural quality of Venus and
Adonis as their bodies take on a grand, three-dimensional quality. He also references the classical tradition of sculpture, bringing it to life through the means of his brush. One of his likely sources for the composition was the Renaissance copy of the ancient Roman relief of the Bed of Polyclitus. David Rosand suggests that:
The figural group, unusual in Titan’s art, is capable of being translated back into the medium of carved relief. The form of Venus especially maintains the planarity that intentionally betrays her sculptural origins, although stone has here been transformed into warm flesh. (Cambridge Companion, 45)
This use of the colorito to add tonality and life to the lifeless medium of stone, is another
way that Titian presents his work as representative of the value of painting over
sculpture. Venus remains the vehicle through which he best illustrates his painterly style,
his understanding of the Classical, and his interpretation of the cultural and social ideals
of the Renaissance.
Where the Paper is headed:
-Discussion of the last two works, Sacred and Profane Love and Venus of Urbino:
These works as the most problematic, controversial of Titian’s Venus theme
· Connection to Cassoni wedding chest imageryà works as wedding images, depicting the ideal Renaissance bride (who has a sexual dimension within the context of marriage)
· Focus on patrons, images as placed in bedroom
· Focus on the significance of the gaze, Venus as in control or objectified?
· Symbolic elements, references to other works (Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus, Praxitles’ Aphrodite of Knidos)
· Titian’s painterly style capturing the ideal beauty of Venus
-Flushing out of introduction of theme of the Venus figure, the issues of sexuality raised
-More contemporary (and Classical) literary examples where useful in expanding on research
· Pietro Aretino writing sample?
· More from Ludiovico Dolce’s Artistic Treaty
· Pietro Testa’s notes on beauty
· Giulio Mancini on the use of images of the nude female figure to assure the conception of beautiful offspring
· Classical descriptions of Venus
· Pliny’s account of Apelles?
-Greater explanation on the designo vs colorito debate
-Addition of specific Renaissance views on beauty, sexuality, and the role of women (from literary sources above perhaps)
-Information on Venus’s importance to the city of Venice? Did Venetians at all identify themselves in her?
Excerpt from The Mirror of the Gods by Malcolm Bull (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 182-222.
Referencing Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus: “It is pointless to ask what Venus was doing, sleeping naked in the landscape, for it was the cultural neutrality of the landscape background that allowed the fantasy to take flight. Indoors, Venus was more likely to be taken for a courtesan. But is a landscape background enough to indicate that a reclining nude is the goddess? One answer might be that a nude woman is the goddess Venus when accompanied by Cupid. Whereas Cupid does not need Venus to identify him, Venus herself is frequently only saved from anonymity by the presence of her little boy. But Cupid comes and goes. The Cupid in Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus was painted out; Titian’s Venus of Urbino is the same figure moved indoors without a Cupid, but some imitators put one in for good measure. In the various versions of Titian’s paintings of Venus with a musician, Cupid is sometimes there and sometimes not. In later inventories the terms ‘naked woman’ and ‘Venus’ are almost interchangeable. The obvious conclusion is not that all these women are the goddess, but rather that being Venus is a matter of degree, or perhaps of perspective.
If a naked woman is not Venus she is often a courtesan. But the two roles were not mutually exclusive, for the connection between the goddess and prostitution went back a long way. According to Lactantius, she had established the profession in Cyprus because she did not want to be the only woman who was going around chasing men. The slur never went away, although Polydore Vergil pointed out that even if Venus had led a shameful life (and there was not much doubt about that), she probably was not the first to take up the profession because prostitution is mentioned in the first book of the Old Testament. In any case, the accusation although morally damning was also an erotic endorsement, for prostitutes were a primary focus of male desire. And classical goddesses like Venus and Flora were useful in that they elevated that desire into culture.
Though they later spread throughout Europe, the reclining nude in a landscape, the toilet of Venus, and the iconography of Venus and Adonis were all initially Venetian products. …. There are at least three interconnected factors in the Venetian production of Venusian imagery: the sea, prostitution, and trade. The last two are of direct importance. Though she was a marine deity, with a name so close to that of the city that the poets could ask whether the goddess had given her name to the city, or the city to the goddess, Venus owes her prominence in Venetian iconography to the city’s legendary courtesans. They themselves identified with the goddess, and, over time, images of them became increasingly indistinguishable from those of their patroness. The relationship worked at the level of supply as well as demand. It was not just that prostitutes were dressed up as Venus. Even if you wanted to paint a Venus rather than a courtesan, you would still need a courtesan to pose for you. And Venice was one of the few places where female models were easy to find.
The importance of oil painting and the absence of a court meant that Venice was the first place in Italy where paintings were collected by large numbers of private citizens. This was important, because Venusian imagery spread largely without state support. Queens were Juno, Minerva, or Diana, and no prince wanted to be seen encouraging prostitution. Save at the time of marriage, Venus (and her imagery) belonged in the private sphere—hidden away in the bedroom, the bathroom, the garden grotto, and the jewellery box. So whereas the iconography of some gods developed through multiple images produced for a single patron, Venusian imagery spread through single images for multiple patrons.
That is doubtless one reason why the most important relationship in a painting of Venus is often that between the goddess and the viewer. The gods almost invariably appear with other protagonists, but Venus is frequently alone, accompanied only by her child. No woman except the Virgin received this kind of individual attention, and in Venus’s case it was not even mediated by the structures of religion. Sheer lust is what men were expected to feel, and also what they were expected not to feel—for however seductive she might appear, a painted Venus was a household ornament.
Here are two book reviews of one of my best sources, Titian’s Women by Rona Goffen.
1) Mary Wiseman
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 420-423
Begins on 422
2) Gabriele Neher
The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 140, No. 1145 (Aug., 1998), pp. 563-564
Published by: The Burlington Magazine Publications, Ltd.
and thirdly an article discussing the Renaissance debate over disegno and colorito, the merits of sculpture vs. painting, the rivalry between Titian and Michelangelo, and the contemporary musings on these issues by Aretino and Dolce.
3) Fredrika H. Jacobs
The Art Bulletin, Vol. 82, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 51-67
Titian and His Venetian Venuses
For my research, I intend to focus on Titian’s paintings of Venus as the representation of female beauty. So many of the artist’s most celebrated and studied works involve depictions of women. As Rona Goffen suggests, “Indeed Titian’s professional investment in paintings of women is so striking that it may be related to his deepest creative impulse”. Why was Titian so often drawn to the representations of Venus? In what ways does this theme showcase his “creative impulses”? How do his depictions of Venus differ from those of the classical past and those of his Italian contemporaries? Titian’s paintings of Venus brilliantly highlight his artistic genius, his understanding and reinterpretation of the Classical tradition, as well as many of the contemporary perceptions of female beauty and the roles of Renaissance women.
Titian painted numerous variations on this theme of the Venus and so the paintings on which my research will center will undoubtedly act as diverse counterpoints to one another. No study of the subject could be complete without addressing the Venus of Urbino, of which I plan to look closely,
perhaps even as the source of comparison to the other depictions. Other works I may include are
Flora, Sacred and Profane Love, Venus with the Mirror, Venus with an Organist and Dog, Venus Anadyomene, and perhaps even La Bella as a possible counterpoint. Is Titian consciously choosing to
depict the female nude differently in each work? Are there shared characteristics amongst all of his
Venuses? Are they to be considered as a thematic group or as individuals? In regards to Titian’s
influences, Giorgione’s (and possibly Titan’s as well) Sleeping Venus will serve as a source of
comparison as will Bellini’s Nude with a Mirror and even classical representations such as Praxitiles’ Aphrodite of Knidos.
A number of art historical approaches are blended into this topic. I plan on using formal analysis as a means of analyzing the choices Titian makes in his portrayals of Venus and the ways in
which they both diverge from and converge upon past traditions. The social and historical context of
renaissance Venice will be incorporated to shed light on the meaning of the works to a contemporary
audience as well as the ways in which the Venuses stand in as representations of (or even as anti-
representations of) women in Venetian society. Thirdly, I plan on using a feminist approach to
explore the issues of any possible misogyny, sexual exploitation/objectification that surround
depictions of female nudes created by male artists. To the extent it is possible, I am interested in
questioning Titian’s own views of women. Is Titian generally being sympathetic to women? Does he
offer insight into their psyches? Or is he more concerned with their physical appearance?
While there has been much research conducted on the subject of Titian’s paintings of Venus (or
simply women as Venus in art in general) there is still much to be gained and many new angles to
address. After all, if an artistic talent as renowned and influential as Titian saw such richness and
meaning in the subject, who are we to second-guess? These portrayals of “Venetian” Venuses may
coquettishly reveal some of their secrets only then to leave their viewers with twice as many
Brown, Judith C., and Robert C. Davis. Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy.
London: Longman, 1998.
Cole, Bruce. Titian and Venetian Painting, 1450-1590. Boulder: Westview,
Goffen, Rona ed. Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1
Goffen, Rona. “Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love and Marriage.” In The Expanding
Discourse: Feminism and Art History. eds. Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, 110-125, New York: Westview Press, 1992.
_____ Titian’s Women. New Haven and London, 1997.
______”The Problematic Patronage of Titian’s Venus of Urbino.” In Journal of Medieval
and Renaissance Studies 24 (1994): 301-21.
Goldfarb, Hilliard T., David Freedberg, and Manuela B. Mena Marqués. Titian and
Rubens: Power, Politics, and Style. Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1998.
Hope, Charles. Titian. New York: Harper and Row, 1980.
Jaffe, David ed. Titian. London: Yale University Press, 2003.
Joannides, Paul. Titian to 1518: The Assumption of Genius. New Haven: Yale University
Meilman, Patricia ed. The Cambridge Companion to Titian. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2004.
Pardo, Mary. “Artifice as Seduction in Titian.” In Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern
Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images. ed. James Grantham Turner, 55-89 London: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Pope, Arthur. Titian’s Rape of Europa: A Study of the Composition and the Mode of
Representation in This and Related Paintings. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1960.
Ridolfi, Carlo. The Life of Titian. eds.Julia Conaway Bondanella, Peter Bondanella,
Bruce Cole, and Jody Robin Shiffman, trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996.
Wethey, Harold E. The Paintings of Titian. 3 vols. London: Phaidon, 1969-75.
Wiesner, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe 2nd ed. New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2000.
1510: Plague rampant in Venice
Giorgione dies in autumn
1515: Giovanni Bellini completes Nude Woman at a Mirror
1516: 29 Novemeber- Giovanni Bellini dies
1525: Titian marries Cecilia
1529: March: Titian at court in Mantua
1538: Titian working on the Venus of Urbino for the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo II 1545: September: Titain stays in Pesaro and Urbino as guest of Guidobaldo II
9 of November: Titian informs Charles V by letter of his wish to give him a Sleeping Venus
1550: First Edition of Vasari’s Lives published
1553: Begins work on some poesie work for Prince Philip of Spain, including Venus and Adonis
1576: 27 February- Titian writes to Phiip II imploring him to pay his many debts to him
27 August – Titian dies in his home from the plague
Titian and his Depictions of Women
I am interested in exploring Titian’s portrayals of female figures focusing mainly on his portraits and history paintings. My research would include aspects of Venetian culture such as fashion, status, wealth and beauty as elements of the artist’s renderings. Essentially the paper would be a way in which to view the lives of Renaissance Venetian women through the exquisite lens of Titian.