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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Titian's Sacred and Profane Love demonstrates this Venetian artist's skill with colour. He is known as one of the best Renaissance painters when it comes to his control over light and shade.

His work throughout his lifetime is evidence of his command of the way that colours may be used to produce depth.

Titian's real name was Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio. He was born around 1488 and died on 27 August 1576. This Italian painter is one of the most well known individuals from the sixteenth century Venetian school. He hails from Pieve di Cadore, close to Belluno, in the Republic of Venice.

Titan brought fame to his country and was the best Venetian craftsman of the sixteenth century. In the long run his talent took his name beyond Venice, increasing universal notoriety. Titian is known most importantly for his striking approach, which had an impact on artists who came a century after.

Sacred and Profane Love is a rectangular oil painting on canvas Titian painted around 1514. It presents a picture of two young ladies situated at either end of a well. This wellspring of water is cut as a traditional sarcophagus.

The two female figures are seated outside in a seemingly peaceful setting. One of the ladies is lavishly dressed, the other at the right of the painting is semi-naked. Interestingly enough, even though this scene initially seems peaceful, either end of this obviously rectangular sarcophagus is clouded.

This work of art by Titan purposefully shows two women who are originally Botticelli's two Venuses. They are from The Birth of Venus and Botticelli's La Primavera. The two ladies individually speak to the consecrated and dishonourable parts of affection. Components inside the work of art underscore a solid refinement between the two.

One is lavishly dressed and formally postured. The other is for the most part naked and casually situated. On the off chance that Botticelli's imaginative similarity is followed in this work of art, then the naked figure likely symbolises the grand or philosophical Venus. The other female figure speaks to her earthly partner.

Titian was perceived by his counterparts as a sun amidst small stars. He was a standout painter among the other Venetian artists. He was the most adaptable of Italian painters, similarly proficient with pictures of adults or children, scenery, and fanciful and religious subjects. His artistic techniques, especially in the application and utilisation of hues, would make a great impact on painters of the Italian Renaissance. He has also significantly impacted Western craftsmanship.

Sacred and Profane Love was given as a gift from a man to the woman he had affection for. It was specifically appointed to Titian by Niccolò Aurelio as a wedding present for his lady Laura Bagarotto. This can be induced from the two family symbols on the sarcophagus and at the base of the canvas.

Niccolò Aurelio was a powerful individual from Venetian political life. Laura Bagarotto, as women typically were at that time, was less powerful but their story is one of both tragedy and a little bit of mystery. Laura Bagarotto's father was the Padoan judge Bertuccio. Bertuccio was executed as a traitor by the Council of Ten in 1509. That Council of Ten included Aurelio himself.

After her father was executed by the Council, Niccolò Aurelio sent back Laura's rich settlement, which had been appropriated by the Council, to give her a better chance of getting married. After that Niccolò Aurelio requested her hand in marriage himself.

Along these lines, Niccolò Aurelio requested this depiction to Titian. The scene required around the sarcophagus has a multifaceted nuance. Bearing in mind that her father was killed shortly before, it is a portrayal of Death in the sarcophagus's role as a grave. In the meantime, it is also a symbol of Life, since the sarcophagus contains water, which is an image of life.

Over the span of his long life, Titian's aesthetic changed radically yet he held a deep rooted enthusiasm for shading and the use of colour in each painting that he completed. In spite of the fact that his later works may not contain the clear, glowing tints of his initial pieces, their free brushwork and nuance of polychromatic balance are unprecedented.