THE VENUS OF URBINO: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST SENSUAL PAINTING BY TITIAN
The Venus of Urbino is one of the most sensual paintings by Titian.
It was one of the most famous paintings of the 16th century, and there were many copies and reproductions over the following centuries.
Here are 5 things to know about The Venus of Urbino.
1. WHEN TITIAN PAINTED THE VENUS OF URBINO
The Venus of Urbino was bought at Titian’s Venetian studio in 1538 by Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Camerino.
The descendant of the Dukes of Urbino had solicited the purchase of a painting portraying a nude young woman in the artist’s studio from his agent in Venice, and he asked insistently his mother Eleonora Gonzaga for money to buy it.
Guidobaldo’s mother thought that his son’s desire was only a tantrum, and didn’t want to pay out even a ducat. So, Guidobaldo had to reassure Titian many times about the fact that he would pay the painting, to prevent the artist from selling the canvas to someone else.
2. WHO THE VENUS OF URBINO WAS
To paint The Venus of Urbino Titian used the same model who had posed for the “Girl in a Fur Coat” on display in Vienna and for “La Bella” on display at the Pitti Palace.
The identity of the girl has never been revealed, but in this painting the love goddess is sensual and stares at the viewer as if she wants to communicate something.
READ ALSO: Works by Titian, 2 days in Venice.
3. ANALYSIS OF THE VENUS OF URBINO
In The Venus of Urbino Titian seems to refer to the importance of the erotic dimension within marriage itself, because in addition to symbols and elements typical of the love goddess (roses in the right hand, a vase of myrtle on the windowsill), there are a small dog curled-up on the bed and maids shown rummaging through a cassone chest containing the girl’s bridal garments.
The scene is set in a familiar environment, the interior of a noble palace, and several scholars interpret this painting as a request made by Guidobaldo della Rovere to her young wife Giulia Varano da Camerino, married for political reasons when she was only 10 years old, but who at the time of purchase of the painting was an adolescent.
Basically, he hoped that he would persuade his wife not to renounce the erotic aspect of their marriage, by reminding her of her marital duties.
4. THE FORTUNE OF THE VENUS OF URBINO
When The Venus of Urbino at last arrived in Urbino to Guidobaldo’s delight, Titian’s fame grew, and he was commissioned to paint other works with the same subject.
It seems that to paint The Venus of Urbino Titian drew inspiration from Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus” (1510), and the posture of Titian’s Venus was cited by Ingres in his “La Grande Odalisque” (1814) and inspired Eduard Manet’s “Olympia” (1863).
5. WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE VENUS OF URBINO
In 1631 The Venus of Urbino arrived in Florence included in the dowry of Vittoria della Rovere, wife of the Grand Duke Ferdinando II, and then in 1694 was moved to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where is still on exhibition.
READ ALSO: The Girl with a Pearl Earring, 5 things to know.