Andare, Partire, Tornare

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Titian rants and raves

Sorry for misrepresenting ya, Swwoop-hood. I think I see the problem here!

Early Titian:

Late Titian:

I've seen a few of his paintings in real life, and the later ones do sort of "dissolve" as you step closer to them. They're meant to be looked at fron a distance. You used the word "sneaky," though, and that's what threw me, because I don't think there's any attempt to hide a lack of technique (in theory, his eyes were starting to go at this point, but it doesn't seem to account for what happens). It was simply a stylistic change. Here's a pretty standard quote from a biography:

"After 1550, when Titian had returned to Venice, his style again changed. In a series of superb mythological paintings for Philip II of Spain, beginning with the DanaŰ (circa 1553, Prado) and including the Rape of Europa (circa 1559-62, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston), forms gradually lose their solidity, partially dissolving into hazy paint textures and vibrant brushstrokes, while color becomes more intense, so that a universe seems to be on the verge of disintegrating into flame. A climax is reached in the ferocious Death of Actaeon (c. 1561, National Gallery, London) with its bronzy tonality and phosphorescent textures. Still more profound are the Flaying of Marsyas (circa 1570-76, KromŔrÝ", Czech Republic) and the Nymph and Shepherd (circa 1574, Kunsthistorisches Museum). Here colors are more subdued, but the turbulence of the brushwork, hardly matched again until 20th-century painting, almost submerges the form entirely. These late mythological paintings, which Titian called poesie (poems), stand among the most formidable statements ever made of the irresistible, elemental powers of nature. These works are paralleled by a sequence of impassioned religious paintings in which the same progressive dissolution of form into color and light takes place. Often nocturnal in setting, they include the stupendous Annunciation (1560-65, San Salvatore, Venice) and Crowning with Thorns (circa 1570, Alte Pinakothek, Munich). In such paintings Titian used this dematerializing style to convey a state of being that transcends the physical. This late style, an astounding phenomenon in the context of Renaissance art, had its final manifestation in the PietÓ intended for Titian's own tomb chapel; the work was left unfinished at his death and is now in the Accademia in Venice. "

You can take that or leave it, as you like, but I think it's got a strong core of truth to it, in that "The Crowning with Thorns," (the painting I saw in person) is immensely powerful. I got all teary standing in front of it, because it seemed like Titian was going on something more raw than his earlier, more erotic mythological stuff.

I daresay you're sick and tired of all this mess I've made from a throwaway guestbook comment you made, so I'll shut up now. But I will be going to see a Titian this coming weekend at the Gardener Museum (Rape of Europa, I think it is) so I'll settle this Titian fixation that way.

I need to track down one of Titian's female portraits - she's got an absolutely ravishing dress that I someday want to have made for me. It's got *miles* of fabric...

12:03 p.m. - 2002-07-14

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