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The Most Mysteries Painting by Titian - Sacred and Profane Love


If ever there was a place in history, beautiful and fertile, the sky was always brightly lit, the blue tides flickered with enchanting spots, and thousands of passing ships gave it a lot of use. Exhausted jewelry, wine, spices, and people's daily life was almost spent singing and feasting without thinking about whether there will be troubles tomorrow. Then this mythical place was Venice in the 16th century. It was second in importance only to Florence and became the other artistic center of Italy. The freedom and luxury of material life brought joy, enthusiasm and splendor to the Renaissance here.

Let's start with this painting, Sacred and Profane Love by Tizianc Vecellio (1490-1576), and enter the colorful world of Venetian painting.

The Venetian School was a major force in Italian Renaissance painting in the 15th and 16th centuries, known for its skill in using bright and vivid colors. The representative painters were Giorgione and Titian.

Sacred and Profane Love

Sacred and Profane Love was a work by Titian when he was 25 years old. Don't let its name restrict you from viewing it with your own eyes because the title was just added to it by some moral people in the 17th century. In this painting, the bride, Laura, in a white and blue dress, and the naked Venus, believed to be the goddess of beauty, on her right, sit together on the edge of a marble well carved with ancient Roman statues in which Cupid, the God of love, splashes and plays, with an idyllic landscape behind them.

Some say that the black magnetic jar that Laura is holding around her waist is filled with pearls, which symbolizes worldly luxury but will eventually turn into nothingness, and the vial held by Venus' left hand is smoking, which symbolizes the pure and passionate and eternal love of God. However, some people say that this is, in fact, the theme of an ideal woman. Laura represents a dignified wife, and Venus represents a goddess who moves people. Dignity, beauty and fertility are perhaps the expectation of all men for women.

They are indeed under the male gaze and domination. The only adult male figure in the picture appears on the marble sarcophagus, with bulging muscles indicating his youthfulness and robustness, his forward posture, and the weapons he wields in his hands, showing that he has sufficient control. Some believe that he is Laura's husband, the owner of this work - a very wealthy Venetian merchant named Niccolò. 

Perhaps the viewer's eyes are first drawn to the goddess on the right. Her body is twisted, relaxed, and boldly exposed to the public, and there is no trace of the shyness and reserve of Botticelli's beautiful women, nor of the superficiality of the world. This may be related to the geographical location of Venice.

Due to trade, it is more affluent than most of Italy, and there is an air of liberal materialism everywhere. Starting with Titian's brother Giorgione, the representation of the human body tended toward sensual pleasure. The optimistic Titian knew how to make his depictions of women as beautiful as possible so that they would bring the viewer a warm and vigorous feeling.

In Sacred and Profane Love, Titian's skillful use of color brings out the fire of youth in the beautiful goddess. Titian's mastery of color is similar to Michelangelo's mastery of drawing, in which color is not used in the composition of the work. In his paintings, color is not a decoration that is added after the composition of the work has been solved, such as sketching. It is an artistic means with a unique and subtle law. The hot and dazzling red of Venus' soft, rounded skin, which also appears on the cuff of Laura's right arm, makes the long, narrow picture appear more balanced and robust.

The light illuminates the smooth silk dress and the elastic flesh in different ways, and the borderline between them is not very clear but seems to blend in with the surrounding light and airy landscape.

This painting reminds us of the painting method used by Leonardo da Vinci in Mona Lisa, but Titian did it through color, which opened up a new field in the realistic painting. One of Titian's portraits 30 years later shows how skillfully the painter had captured the charm of color in his later years. The man in the painting gazes at us with such eagerness and affection, with a pale green under his eyes, while his lips are bright and red. Although he lacks the mysterious look of the Mona Lisa, his brown beard and heavier eyebrows and eyes make him still look divine, giving the impression that only the years have passed, while the most vivid life has reached eternity at this moment.

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