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Painting Price: $115.00
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Model: Titian-033

Painting Name: Pietà
Artist: Titian
Year: 1575–1575
Medium: Oil Painting on Canvas
Original Size: 389 cm × 351 cm (153 in × 138 in)
Location:  Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

One can hardly doubt that by surpassing Michelangelo, Titian's work intended to move past Vittoria. Compared with Vittoria's composition, Titian's Pieta suggests more complex multi-layered interrelations between architecture, sculpture, and painting. The main group is situated in front of a fictive architectural setting consisting of a rusticated portal, a common feature in Mannerist architecture, with a niche inside. Kate Dorment related the architecture to contemporary monuments, pointing out that rustication was a popular Romanizing device in sixteenth-century architecture used by Giulio Romano, Palladio, and Sanmichele, with whom Titian was personally acquainted. She also explained the broad iconographic implications of the portal in the painting, relating it to the themes of altar, tomb, fountain, and gate architecture. The association with the gate motif is indicated by the two winged figures in the spandrels atop the arch surrounding the niche (only the one on the left is clearly visible). These victories are conspicuously similar to the figures added shortly after the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 to the spandrels of the Venetian Arsenale's gate. The gate, at the time when Titian created his work, also featured a niche and flanking pedestals similar to those in the painting. An allusion to such a preeminent Venetian civic monument would assert Titian's prestigious position as the Serenissima's prince of painters. This also links the fictive arch to the triumphal arches of antiquity, and by extension to the triumphal arch of the Frari's choir which separates it from the nave. The semi-dome of the fictive niche in Titian's painting is decorated with a mosaic depicting a pelican feeding its young with the blood from its chest, a traditional symbol of Christ's sacrifice and of Charity. References to Charity are appropriate here since the words 'piety' and 'pity' derive from pietas, and both are motivators for engaging in charitable acts. The gold-ground mosaic is a reference to traditional Venetian church decoration and therefore places the event in a local setting. The arch is topped with nine burning lamps and a fig branch. The fig tree may refer to the Resurrection, but also to Adam and Eve's Original Sin, now removed by the dead Christ and the Immaculate Virgin, considered the Second Adam and Eve, respectively.

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