Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis

1) Introductory Paragraph: Describe the object in detail- A complete description of what it looks like. Include what kind of artwork it is such as a statue, bas-relief, pottery or painting. What is the medium Was it intended for a home, a church, a tomb or some other purpose? How did it come to be at the museum of Getty in Los Angeles?
Venus and Adonis is a paining by Titian, representing a typical art of late renaissance period. It’s a painting representing Greek myth, which were very popular in the period of late renaissance in Western Europe, especially among the most talented and famous painters of that time: Michelangelo, Titan, Rembrandt and others. These paintings had a decorative purpose and were used for the decoration of palaces and castles- residencies of noble men, aristocrats and kings. In particular this painting was ordered by Spanish king Phillip II for his palace in Madrid. It’s also very important to note that there are several versions of Venus and Adonis and it’s considered that their prototype is in Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain (depicts Adonis without the red hunter’s cap). Some historians consider that most of paintings representing these theme painted by Titian, are nothing but replica’s, other consider them to be genuine and original. According to a version of F. Muller: “the work was originally painted for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who intended it for his picture gallery in Prague. It was then carried to Sweden as booty by King Gustavus Adolfus, and passed by heredity into the collection of Queen Christina of Sweden. After her abdication in 1654, she brought it with her to Rome where it decorated her palace there. With Christina’s death in 1689, the picture passed to her heir Pompeo Azzolino and was later acquired from him by Livio Odescalchi, who purchased a large part of Christina’s collection. It then passed successively to the French regent Phillipe d’Orleans, who took it to Paris, and to Czar Paul I of Russia, who took it to Saint Petersburg. When he died, the painting was acquired by the Venetian merchant Pietro Concolo, who took it back to Venice. There, the work was bought by Capparoni, Giovanni Torlonia’s agent for the acquisition of artworks.” (from http://gallery.euroweb.hu/html/t/tiziano/mytholo2/venus_ac.html) We can conclude that this painting was bought by agents for museum of Getty in Los Angeles.
2)Go into detail on the source of the medium. What is the substance the artist uses to make the work of art? Where does it come from? What properties does it have that make it a good medium for art?
In order to create this masterpiece Titian used all art techniques of Western painting tradition together with a classical theme of mythology, which gave this painting grace and charm, similar to most of worlds of Renaissance epoch. Titian used a harmony of colors, shapes and shades on the hand with traditional them from the mythology. This makes the painting very realistic and alive.
This painting is made on canvas and is painted by oil colors, which were widely used since Middle ages as they are very saturated and can preserve for a long time, without losing any color and saturation quality.
The manner to picture people in motion, with faces full of expressions and emotions gives extra grace and grandeur top the painting, so that the viewer can understand the core essence of the painting theme. Such harmony of colors, theme and aesthetic value of the painting make it a masterpiece.
3)Tell me what the artist does to take the new raw medium and create the work of art. What tools does he use? What techniques and processes are needed? What is the process of creating art in this medium?
The techniques which Titian uses in order to create this painting are considered to be classic today. First of all he is a master of colors and of color gamma, so the grandeur of the painting s mainly explained by colors and by technique of shadows, which he uses to express the theme of the painting. The colors used by Titian show aristocratic style: he uses different shades of golden color with hues of brown, blue, red, rose, green colors. His manner of painting is distinguished by the freedom of composition, form and freedom of colors used. The color gamma of this painting is based on extraordinary solution of plastic modeling, he puts paint on canvas not only using ordinary instrument such as brushes, but he also employs palette knife and his fingers. The grace and grandeur of his images is a result of flexible and plastic strokes of the paint-brush. Multiple application of different painting methods by Titian gave the birth to the images and figures which were very realistic and alive. His technique played a very important role in the development of fine arts till the beginning of the twentieth century.
4)Then address the subject of the artwork. What is featured on the object, or what does the object represent? Does the artwork represent a particular myth or story? If so, tell me a version of the myth and how the artwork tells the story. Is the subject a real person or event? Is so, tell me who that person was ot what happened in the event.
The theme of the painting Venus and Adonis has a direct relationship to Greek and Roman mythologies. The theme of these myth is described in poem of Ovid “Metamorphoses”, telling about the love of a goddess Venus to a mortal man Adonis, who was a hunter. Venus was afraid that Adonis would be killed while hunting and she doesn’t want to let him go, holding him. Adonis was a masterful hunter and was never afraid of any danger, while hunting, as it was what he did for living. But Venus was always afraid of his dangerous occupation, despite all attempt to convince her that there would be no harm, Venus never trusted. According to the myth one day when Venus was holding Adonis, he apparently died on the hunt while struggling with wild boar. Titian depicted that particular moment of parting: Venus is holding Adonis, as she doesn’t want him to go hunting. Adonis is a handsome young man, who wears tunic. He just got out of his bed, as blankets and sheets are on the ground. We see that he is going hunting as he is keeping the leash with two large dogs, who are eager to move. Venus is painted as a beautiful, though large woman who is holding Adonis and we can see her only from her back as she turned to Adonis trying to keep him fro a hunt. In the back of the painting we see a small boy, who is sleeping. This boy is Amour, a god of love and defender of beloved. The sign that he is sleeping means that he will not be able to protect Venus from losing Adonis and will not be able to use his magic to avoid Adonis’s death while hunting. According to the description “In the trees above the couple, a quiver of arrows and a bow hangs. The woman appears to be sitting on top of clothes. At her feet is a rather large golden container of some kind.”
5)Then tell me who made it. What was the name of the artist? In which culture was the artist living? What were the people like? Where did they live and how did they live? What impact did the artist have on his times?
Venus and Adonis is one of the most famous works of Titian, great Italian painter of the Renaissance epoch. He studied art in Venice in the workshop of Giovanni Bellinni, later he worked in Rome, Venice, Padua. His individual style was much influenced by the works of Michelangelo and Rafael in 1510’s. The works of this period are characterized by bright color gamma, love of life, high expression of feelings. Since 1510’s his works have changed, as he specialized in monumental style painting a number of Biblical themes, mythological themes and episodes from Gospel. The color set of these paintings is mainly based on the contrasts of red and blue colors. His works were typical for the epoch of Renaissance, the rival of antique art traditions, and the revival of humanism after prolonged domination of Catholic church over morality and private life of Europeans. The people of the renaissance epoch were more humanistic, life loving and eager for innovations and changes. It’s enough to mention that it was the epoch of great geographic discoveries, epoch of Columbus, Shakespeare Leonardo and simple revival and flourish of Western culture. Since that time church and its morality of modest life didn’t play a crucial role in life either of aristocrats or common people, a since that time the man was more interesting to society, than his titles and his heritage. Such tendencies got reflection in art, as a number of Renaissance painters returned to the mythological themes of Ancient Greece and Rome and made them central, setting a model and ideal of human beauty , singing the praise to the beauty of a man, to the beauty of his body and to the beauty of natural aesthetics.
6)Finally, tell me why you chose this piece? Of all the artwork at the museum, why did this one stand out for you? What does it make you think about? Do you find it beautiful? Is it interesting to you for some other reason? Tell me why this work of art moves you?
This masterpiece of Titian had impressed me by the beauty and grandeur of the theme, by the realistic style of painting and by the dramatism of the scene. The master of color, light, shades and a real master of portrait, Titian had created images which impress people today and make them to admire the beauty of goddess Venus and common mortal Adonis. This painting represents a strength of love and passion better than some of today’s movies and romantic novels, as the moment chosen by Titian is worth of thousand words.

References:
Venus and Adonis, available on website:
http://gallery.euroweb.hu/html/t/tiziano/mytholo2/venus_ac.html
Venus and Adonis: http://staff.jccc.net/bnorcott/Art/venusandadonis.htm