The Female Form and Venetian Style – Essay Example

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The paper "The Female Form and Venetian Style" is an outstanding example of an essay on performing arts. Titian’ s oil on canvas painting “ Venus of Urbino” (1538) is a painting of a naked woman lying provocatively on a bed in the foreground while two maids work in the background to dig her clothing out of chests placed along the wall. The woman is stretched out across the front bottom half of the canvas resting her reclined weight on her near arm which is bent at an acute angle positioning the elbow at the top of the pillow behind her.

This pose deliberately mimics the pose used in Giorgione’ s painting “ Sleeping Venus” (1510), another Venetian master. Unlike Renaissance depictions of the nude in other parts of Italy such as Botticelli’ s painting “ The Birth of Venus” (1486), this poses almost forces her breasts out into the viewing area knowingly, aggressively and without any attempt to cover. She looks directly out of the painting as if daring the viewer to step into her world, but at the same time she seems sweet and almost innocent in her expression.

“ Titian’ s painting is purposefully sensual … She displays none of the attributes of the goddess she is supposed to represent: she is not demure, idealized, unattainable, or remote. This Venus is a flesh-and-blood beauty, awake and fully aware of the viewer’ s presence” (Hill, 2006). Titian makes heavy use of linear perspective and reflected light to suggest that the woman is very available while also providing her with private, secluded space. The suggestion of the lines gives the viewer the sense that they are seeing this woman as if through a window, giving her a degree of separation from the viewer that is only slightly less than the separation from the women in the other room.

Lighting is used to emphasize the rich drapery hung just behind the woman, giving her the illusion of privacy from the other women while the vertical line of the drapes directs the eye almost forcefully to the woman’ s pubic area. This highly emotional and sensual approach is very different from Botticelli’ s painting where Venus, although nude, is decently covered in most of the important areas, seems by her pose to consider this important and is demurely distracted by something just to the left of the viewer’ s plane.  

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