Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Sacred and Profane Love

Titian, the greatest Italian Renaissance painter of the Venetian school, who was once described as “the sun amidst small stars not only among the Italians but all the painters of the world,” died this day in 1576.
Titian's influence on later artists has been profound: he was supreme in every branch of painting and revolutionized the oil technique with his free and expressive brushwork. Vasari wrote of this aspect of his late works that they `are executed with bold, sweeping strokes, and in patches of color, with the result that they cannot be viewed from near by, but appear perfect at a distance... The method he used is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, for it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but it conceals the labor that has gone into them.'
Sacred and Profane Love (also called Venus and the Bride) is an oil painting by Titian, painted around 1513-1514. This painting, one of the best examples of his work, was commissioned by Niccolò Aurelio, a secretary to the Venetian Council of Ten (so identified because his coat of arms appears on the sarcophagus or fountain in the centre of the image) to celebrate his marriage to a young widow, Laura Bagarotto. The work was bought in 1608 by the art patron Scipione Borghese and is currently housed with other works from the Borghese collection in the Galleria Borghese in Rome.

The novelists Arnold Bennett and Iris Murdoch both wrote novels with Sacred and Profane Love in the title (Sacred and Profane Love and The Sacred and Profane Love Machine).

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