Venus of Urbino by Titian
This work, completed in 1538 for the Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo II Della Rovere, is very interesting and charming for its many hidden meanings.
The painting represents the allegory of marriage and had to serve as a “teaching” model to Giulia Varano, the young wife of the Duke: the evident eroticism of the painting, in fact, had to remind the woman of the marital obligations she would have to fulfill to her husband.
The erotic allegory was even more evident in the representation of Venus, goddess of love, depicted as a sensual and delectable woman staring at the viewer who cannot ignore her beauty.
The light and warm color of the body of Venus is in contrast to the dark background and brings out her eroticism even more. The dog at the feet of the woman is the symbol of the marital fidelity while, in the background, the house maid looking at the young girl as she rummages in a chest of drawers symbolizes motherhood.
The strong sensuality of this painting was therefore consistent with its private, domestic purpose.
The pose of the nude is certainly a tribute to his friend-master Giorgione, who in 1510 had painted a very similar subject, the Sleeping Venus.
Thanks to the wise use of color and its contrasts, as well as the subtle meanings and allusions, Titian achieves the goal of representing the perfect Renaissance woman who, just like Venus, becomes the symbol of love, beauty and fertility.
You can see the Venus of Urbino by Titian in the hall #28 of Tiziano and Sebastiano del Piombo.