Analysis Of The Painting Venus And Adonis

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Venus and Adonis is an oil painting on canvas by Renaissance artist Titian. It was in progress in 1553 and completed in 1554 which was the period of Renaissance. Titian is a master of color and composition. His painting method has a profound influence on paintings of the late Renaissance.

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According to the story of Venus and Adonis, the goddess Venus falls in love with Adonis. When Venus finds Adonis is going to leave for hunting, she worries about Adonis that he’ll be in danger when hunting, so she is trying to hold Adonis and stopping him to leave. The center of the painting is driven by an eye-to-eye look between people. They hug tightly which attracts viewers’ attention and creates a sense of tension to the painting. When first look at the painting, the love between Venus and Adonis and the beautiful colors make viewers feel delightful. However, after you pay attention to the details, you can figure out that Titian is trying to create a sense of complexity of happiness and anxiety between Venus and Adonis by applying the method of color and composition emphatically.

The composition parts are dynamic and under harmonically arrangement. Titian shows love and anxiety between Venus and Adonis incisively and vividly by focusing on the movement and composition. It looks like Venus and Adonis flow together as one. There is a possibility that Adonis will be caught immediately if Venus lets him go for hunting. The Cupid is sleeping under a tree where his arrows and bow are hanging from. Such unusual scene tells people that the love between them will disappear which creates a sense of anxiety. Venus’s beautiful body is covered with a rich tablecloth sitting on a rock. Adonis’s right leg is forward to the hunting direction and his left leg is hidden in the back of Venus’s body. Their bodies interact with each other. Venus’ composition looks more stable than Adonis. The unbalance between them creates a sense of tension to the painting. The believable proportions are stylized to the expectations of the Renaissance. Venus’s naked back and plum hips emphasizes a sense of romance.

Adonis leads two dogs with his strong arm while one of the dogs with head down towards to ground and the other dog looking up into the distance. Dogs symbolize faith and loyalty in painting. They are symbolizing loyalty and love between Venus and Adonis. On the other hand, the contrast of different compositions and colors of the dogs also create a sense of anxiety.

The complementary colors Titian uses highlights the contrast between two figures and dull background. Such contrast draws an attention right to Venus and Adonis and only then to the rest of the painting. Venus’s beautiful body and Adonis’s handsome face are the main part of the painting that makes the painting soft. The soft light and color create a sense of happiness. The clouds are dark and the sky is blue. The contrast between the color of sky and cloud creates a sense of anxiety. Also, it implies a sense of change that the hunting would be fatal.

There are both lights and shadows represented on the painting, shadows are dominant. There are lights exposed on Venus’ back and hip, which make her more tender and softer. Adonis is covered more with shades, which highlight his strength, physical power and masculine features. There are shadows on the background, which create a more tense atmosphere behind the main characters and symbolize Venus’ disturbance. The shadows used on the dark forest and clouds make the painting more dramatic.

There are mostly slightly curved and smooth lines on the painting. Soft lines of the bodies, curly hair of people, slightly arched dogs’ backs and curly clouds all together create sensual and soft atmosphere on the painting as well as lyrical perception of it. The space on the artwork is flat and two-dimensional. The main figures are entirely within the space, proportion between the figures and the space is realistic.

In a word, Titian’s Venus and Adonis is full of love and anxiety between the main characters and more thought-provoking through emphasizing on dynamic composition and the contrast between light and shadow. It’s a unique way to enhance a sense of drama and make Venus and Adonis dramatic.

16 August 2021

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