Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love

Painting of the Week

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love

Sacred and Profane Love is mysterious an oil painting by Titian, probably painted in 1514, early in his career. The painting is presumed to have been commissioned by Niccolò Aurelio, a secretary to the Venetian Council of Ten to celebrate his marriage to a young widow, Laura Bagarotto. It perhaps depicts a figure representing the bride dressed in white, sitting beside Cupid and accompanied by the goddess Venus. But we don’t know that for sure.

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514, Galleria Borghese, Rome

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514, Galleria Borghese, Rome

The iconography of this painting is very mysterious. Some measure of consensus has been achieved but basic aspects of the intended meaning of the painting, including the identity of the central figures, remain disputed.

Titian Sacred and Profane Love Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514,Galleria Borghese, Rome, detail

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514,Galleria Borghese, Rome, detail


There have been a number of conflicting interpretations of the painting. We have already stated that most interpretations in recent decades see the painting as commemorating a marriage. The figures seem physically identical, but their clothing is so different, need to be assigned identities, at which point agreement ends. While the trend in recent years has been to downplay complicated and obscure explanations of the iconography of paintings by Titian (and other Venetian painters), in this case, no straightforward interpretation has been found.

Titian Sacred and Profane Love Titian Sacred and Profane Love Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514, Galleria Borghese, Rome, detail

Titian, Sacred and Profane Love, 1514, Galleria Borghese, Rome, detail

Scholars have proposed several identifications of the figures and analyses and interpretations which largely flow from these. The concept of Geminae Veneres or “Twin Venuses”, a dual nature in Venus, was well developed in both classical thought and Renaissance Neoplatonism, with the earthly Aphrodite Pandemos, representing carnal love and beauty, and the heavenly Aphrodite Urania representing a higher and more spiritual love, using the classical terms for the figures. Erwin Panofsky and others found both in the painting, with the earthly Venus the nude one.


It has also been suggested that the painting contains asserts by allegory the innocence of Laura Bagarotto’s father, who had been executed by the Republic of Venice for treason in 1509. In this interpretation the contents of the urn beside the clothed woman are the ashes of the bride’s father, and the naked figure is Venus as Truth, and/or Charity. But it sounds a little too complicated.

Probably we will never find out the initial meaning of this painting. But what we are left with is the beautiful, mysterious scene which gives us the evidence of Titian’s genius 🙂


If you want to more know about Titian, have a look at the article “Titian’s Women Who Are In Fact The Same Woman“.

Find out more:


Art Historian, huge fan of Giorgione and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Painting of the Week

  • 19th Century

    Painting of the Week: John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shallot

    By

    Elaine, the white lady of Shallot’s island, portrayed by John William Waterhouse is locked in a tower where she is only able to see the world through a mirror and recreate life through the weaving of a tapestry. The Lady of Shalott is a lyrical ballad...

  • dailyart

    Painting of the Week: Sir William Orchardson, The First Cloud

    By

    At first glance, Sir William Orchardson’s The First Cloud is a late Victorian domestic scene that appears to be tranquil, refined, and placid. However, at second view the luxurious elegance exposes the hypocrisy, double-standards, and bankrupted values of the privileged elite. The First Cloud showcases a...

  • dailyart

    Painting of the Week: Edvard Munch, Madonna

    By

    The Norwegian painter Edvard Munch realized the colored lithograph Madonna in 1895. He is considered the head of Expressionism, therefore his Madonna is imbued with its characteristics. Expressionism, born in the early 20th century, expresses a reality distorted by the subjectivity of the artist. The use...

  • Dadaism

    Painting of the Week: Is La Joconde L.H.O.O.Q?

    By

    The Painting of the Week, La Joconde, is all about codes, reversals, play with conventions and provocation. In other words, it’s an epitome of Dada and Marcel Duchamp‘s entire oeuvre. Mona Lisa vs Dada We all did it at some point in our lives: we drew...

  • Baroque

    Painting of the Week: Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes

    By

    Artemisia Gentileschi (1593 – 1656) was the most accomplished female painter of the Italian Baroque. She specialized in Biblical scenes of strong women fulfilling their higher destinies. Her most famous painting, Judith Slaying Holofernes, not only captures the drama and intensity of the subject, but it...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy