About this artwork

Titian's Venus fills the canvas. The small shell floating on the water identifies the beautiful nude female as the goddess of love. The ancient Greek poet Hesiod described how Venus was born fully grown from the sea and blown to the shore on a scallop shell. Titian shows the goddess wringing her hair, a pose inspired by classical sculpture and by an account of a painting by Apelles, the most celebrated painter of ancient Greece. Titian's Venus proved that he could rival the art of antiquity and that he could make the ideal appear real. The painting is in exceptionally fine condition and was acquired from the Sutherland collection in 2003.

  • title: Venus Rising from the Sea ('Venus Anadyomene')
  • accession number: NG 2751
  • artist: Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)Italian (about 1485/90 - 1576)
  • depicted: Venus
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Myth The sea Nudity Italian Renaissance
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1520
  • measurements: 75.80 x 57.60 cm (framed: 103.00 x 84.70 x 14.00 cm)
  • credit line: Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government (hybrid arrangement) and allocated to the Scottish National Gallery, with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), and the Scottish Executive, 2003

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

Titian made a greater impact on European painting than any other artist from Venice. His use of colour and development of a 'painterly' style of lively brush work has influenced generations of artists. He excelled in all types of painting, including altarpieces, religious subjects for private devotion, themes from classical mythology, allegorical works and portraits. The bright clear colours and smooth appearance of his early paintings are quite different from the more dramatic tonal contrasts and broken brushwork of his later work. He received public and private commissions from within Venice and from eminent patrons elsewhere. Titian painted many of his most celebrated pictures for King Philip II of Spain.

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