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Cultural Aspect of the Venus of Urbino, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The most striking cultural aspect of the Venus of Urbino lies in how the painting brings together Renaissance style and classical form.  More exactly, this is a Venus seemingly lifted from her ancient world and set upon a Venetian bed.  This is an impression also enhanced by the attitude Titian gives to this woman/goddess.  In many other portrayals, Venus is remote or ethereal, indicating the elusiveness of love.  Here, she looks straight at the viewer almost defiantly, and this creates multiple impressions because of the Renaissance setting around her.

My own view is that Titian, in transposing the classic female representation of love to this arena, consciously chose to reveal her as a courtesan, or the equivalent to a “love goddess” of his own era.  In this approach, then, Venus truly is eternal, and eternally assigned to the roles mankind demands of sexually aware women.  More than this, however, is the element of her immortality, no matter the scenario or age.  This is a Venus who can defy time itself.

Venetian art demands a separate study for much the same reason Venice insisted on autonomy and stature for itself.  The art reflects the reality that this was an Italian city poised between worlds, and with a luxuriant influence derived from its massive trade with the East.  As Venice was the “prince” of cities, its art was focused on glorifying it as something of a new Byzantium, where wealth and privilege allowed for expressions of leisure reminiscent of ancient Roman society.  Satyrs stand by citizens of evident means in a lush woodland setting, and togas are worn along with the trappings of Venetian wealth.  Everything about the Venetian style is grandiose and larger than life, befitting a city unlike any other in the Western world.  In a sense, then, it could be argued that Venetian commerce created Venetian art; the riches and exotic influences of the city demanded expression in the work of its artists.

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