BASILICA OF THE FRIARS, PESARO MADONNA - TITIAN

Audio File length: 1.50
Author: STEFANO ZUFFI E DAVIDE TORTORELLA
English / USA Language: English / USA

You are now standing before another masterpiece by Titian; this one dominates the altar of the Immaculate Conception: the Pesaro Madonna. This large painting was commissioned to celebrate the glories of the family of Jacopo Pesaro, who was the victorious leader against the Turks and later became the bishop of Paphos on Cyprus. The warrior bishop can be seen kneeling in the lower left next to figures symbolizing his military victories; the opposite side depicts other members of his family, including a little boy staring out of the painting with a lively expression.

The painting was completed in 1526 and required a lot of work: Titian took seven years to finish it! You should know that until then, Venetian altars always depicted the Madonna and saints in a triangle, with the Madonna in the center. In this painting Titian courageously did the opposite: he moved the Madonna from the center over to the right, a trick that gave the group of figures a cadence and energy that had never been seen before. Another innovative architectural detail is the two giant columns that rise high above the clouds behind the Madonna and Child.

The dramatic effect of the composition is exalted by the colors' richness, including the flag's reds,Senator Francesco Pesaro's toga, and the golden yellow of St. Peter's mantle. With this painting, Titian reached maturity and directed Venetian art towards a previously unknown liveliness.

 

FUN FACT: to the right of baby Jesus, the painting also depicts St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua. The presence of these two saints, both Franciscans and members of this church, is also probably explained by the fact that Jacopo Pesaro, who commissioned the painting, had two brothers called Francesco and Antonio.

 

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