Venus of Urbino

Venus of Urbino by Titian

Venus of Urbino by Titian was produced in 1534 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Renaissance Art movement. The work can be viewed now at Uffizi Gallery, Florence


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): beauty, woman


Venus of Urbino is an oil painting produced in 1538 by Italian artist Titian.

The painting was commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo II della Rovere as a gift for his young wife and to celebrate his 1534 marriage.

The eroticism of the painting depicts a nude young woman which reminds her marital obligations of what she would have to fulfill to her husband. The young woman was identified as the goddess Venus, reclining on a couch or bed in the surroundings of a Renaissance palace. Titian brings out her eroticism through the light and warm color of her body which is in contrast to the dark background. In this picture, Venus stares straight at the viewer making eye-contact. She is unconcerned with her nudity. She holds roses whilst in her right hand while she laid her other hand over her genitals.

The work can be viewed at Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence

In the near background, is the dog at the feet of the woman Venus and is the symbol of marital fidelity while in the background of the painting, the house maid or servant was looking down at the young girl as she rummages in a chest symbolizes motherhood. The painting was for private and domestic purposes only and therefore used as a gift from husband to wife because of the strong sensuality of Venus in this painting.

The model for the painting (a woman named Venus) has been assumed as Angela del Moro, a highly paid courtesan in Venice and a well-known companion of Titian. The pose of the nude woman and her expressions was certainly a tribute to his close friend cum Master Giorgione who in 1510 had painted a very similar subject namely the Sleeping Venus. It was Titian who used wise colors, contrasts and allusions to achieve the goal of representing the perfect Renaissance woman Venus which becomes the symbol of love, beauty and fertility in Urbino.


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