Old Masters Academy

Elegant Art Jokes: TITIAN’S VENUS AND ADONIS. Part2.

“The figure of Venus, which is seen in a back view, receives the principal light, and is without drapery, save that a white veil, which hangs from her shoulder, spreads itself over the right knee. The chief parts of this figure are scarcely less excellent in respect of form than of coloring. The head possesses great beauty, and is replete with natural expression. The fair hair of the goddess, collected into a braid rolled up at the back of her head, is entwined by a string of pearls, which, from their whiteness, give value to the delicate carnation of her figure. She throws her arms, impassioned, around her lover, who, resting with his right hand upon his javelin, and holding with the left the traces which confine his dogs, looks upon her unmoved by her solicitations, and impatient to repair to the chase. Cupid, meantime, is seen sleeping at some distance off, under the shadow of a group of lofty trees, from one of which are suspended his bow and quiver; a truly poetic thought, by which, it is scarcely necessary to add, the painter intended to signify that the blandishments and caresses of beauty, unaided by love, may be exerted in vain. In the coloring, this picture unites the greatest possible richness and depth of tone, with that simplicity and sobriety of character which Sir Joshua Reynolds so strongly recommends in his lectures, as being the best adapted to the higher kinds of painting. The habit of the goddess, on which she sits, is of crimson velvet, a little inclining to purple, and ornamented with an edging of gold lace, which is, however, so subdued in tone as not to look gaudy, its lining being of a delicate straw color, touched here and there with a slight glazing of lake. The dress of Adonis, also, is crimson, but of a somewhat warmer hue. There is little or no blue in the sky, which is covered with clouds, and but a small pro[Pg 10]portion of it on the distant hills; the effect altogether appearing, to be the result of a very simple
principle of arrangement in the coloring, namely, that of excluding almost all cold tints from the illuminated parts of the picture.”

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