The story of one masterpiece: "Earthly love and heavenly love" by Titian


Let's start with the fact that in the story with the plot and the name of this canvas there is nothing exactly definite. The modern name appeared much later than the picture itself, but there is no agreement about who and why is depicted, and in the art-fellows altogether. The two main versions do not cancel one another, rather, on the contrary, complement the mosaic of meanings.

So let's start with the earthly. It is believed that the canvas was commissioned by the Secretary of the Council of Ten, Nicolo Aurelio, who was going to marry Laura Bagarotto. The picture was supposed to be a gift to a young wife. In the picture of wedding symbolism in abundance. The girl is wearing a white dress; on her head is a myrtle wreath (a Venus plant symbolizing love and loyalty); she covers the bowl with her hand (in such vessels, the bridegrooms handed wedding gifts to the Venetian brides); on it is a belt and gloves (the first is a symbol of marital fidelity, the second is an attribute of a wedding dress, which the grooms gave to the betrothal as a sign of seriousness of intentions).

The picture got its name 150 years after writing

The desire of numerous offspring - of course, in the form of rabbits. And the bride-like goddess Venus blesses this union. Cupid here is the mediator between the goddess and the woman. The landscape is also symbolic: on the one hand, the road to the mountain is a difficult path of prudence and fidelity, on the other, a plain meaning bodily pleasures.

If you suddenly had time to think that Laura Bagarotto looked like the woman in the picture, then you were mistaken. If it were a portrait, then nude Venus was painted from Laura, which in those days would damage the reputation of a decent woman. Titian created an idealized image of the bride.

"Venus of Urbinsk" (1538), which in 300 years will inspire Edgar Mane to the scandalous Olympia

And now about the sublime. Nude Venus is heavenly, she personifies the pursuit of truth, God. Dressed Venus - the earth, her image says that at the human level, the truth can be known through the senses. In the context of the philosophy of the Renaissance, truth and beauty are identical.

Titian for talent was called the Divine

We see that Venus are equal. That is, for a person, both earthly, physical, and heavenly, spiritual are equally important. After all, through the first and second, you can know the truth. Earth Venus holds flowers in the hem, which means a combination of several types of love.

Indicated on the canvas and what happens to a person for whom love - only physical enjoyment. On the marble well we see the image of a horse (a symbol of passion) and the scene of punishment. A man steeped in crap joys awaits punishment.


The picture received its current name in 1693. Prior to this, art historians, on the basis of various interpretations of the plot and symbolism, called the painting "Beauty, embellished and unadorned." Until the 20th century, no one paid much attention to wedding symbolism. And the coat of arms of the Venetian family at the well did not notice. But especially attentive researchers saw that the owner of the coat of arms was Nicolo Aurelio. His marriage to Laura Bagarotto, a young widow from Padua, was the subject of judgments. The reason for this is the uneasy past of the bride.

Titian was very fond of women, especially experienced and in body

Laura's first husband, the Padua aristocrat Francesco Borromeo, at the height of the military conflict between the Venetian Republic and the Holy Roman Empire, took the side of the emperor. But Padua submitted to Venice, because Borromeo was arrested and, probably, executed by the sentence of the Council of Ten as a traitor. Many relatives of Laura went to prison and exile. Her father Bertuccio Bagarotto, a university professor, was hanged in front of his wife and children on the same charge, in his case unfair.

"Allegory of prudence" (1565−1570). Portraits of Titian, his son Orazio and nephew Marco are connected to the heads of a wolf, a lion and a dog, which personifies the past, present and future

The permission to marry a high-ranking Venetian official with the widow and daughter of state criminals was discussed by a commission headed by Doge, and it was received. It is possible that the picture, ordered from the most prestigious painter of Venice, should have added respectability marriage in the eyes of fellow citizens.

According to one version, the well is a marble sarcophagus. Relief on marble depicts the beating of Adonis by jealous Mars - a young man died at the hands of the god of war. This is not only an indication of the tragic love of the goddess Venus, but also a reminder of the sad past of Laura Bagarotto.

The fate of the artist

Venetian titan of the Renaissance, nicknamed Divine. Titian glorified life and sensual beauty. In many ways, thanks to him, the color has become what we know it today. If it were not for his genius, the artist's works would be called audacity and blasphemy. But no one could remain indifferent to the strength of Titian's talent. His paintings are full of life, strength, dynamics. Canvases on religious subjects literally shine and glorify God. Portraits depict complex psychological types. And the mythological plots are full of bliss and a sense of peace and harmony in fusion with nature.

Self-portrait, 1567

In 1527, Rome was captured and plundered. Art has responded to this with mech-block plots and dark colors. Darkness is coming, there is no salvation - just about such moods reigned in Italian art. Titian also continued to write a strong man, a fighter.

For his era, he lived indecently long life. And he died either from the plague, or from old age - there is no consensus. The second version is supported by the fact that the artist is buried not in the plague cemetery, but with all the honors in the Venetian Cathedral of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari with all the honors.

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