Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens essay

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Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens-is a baroque painting illustrating the cupid assisting Venus in persuading her mortal lover not to go hunting, as a wild boar will kill him. However, Adonis shows some resistance to Venus’s pleas. The painting, done in 1614, is oil on canvas measuring 83x90.5 cm.

Texture is intensively utilized to enhance the theme of death. The clouds, tree, animals, ground and Adonis clothing are painted in rough texture. The rough texture is a foreshadow of the oncoming tragedy. Venus’s body texture is smooth indicating that she is a mortal who is not affected by earthly tragedies and pain. Line is extensively used in illustrating confused and disturbed movement.  Cloud movements are enhanced by use of rough lines to illustrate movement of time.  Adonis muscles are textured using rough lines, further illustrating his uncertain future. Venus and the Cupid bodies are drawn in smooth lines to illustrate their certain future.

Light is efficiently used all over the painting. Bright light is focused on all characters in the picture while the shadow falls on the ground and the tree. The light is perceived to be originating from the right side of the painting as more light falls on Venus than on Adonis. However, the light is evenly distributed from the fore ground to the background while the tree receives most of the shade. The painting is in asymmetrical balance as most of the weight falls on the right half of the painting while the left side is lightly congested.

Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens is a typical baroque painting as tension, movement, vitality and richness were the main baroque painting styles as evident in the painting. Dynamic and rhetoric movements aimed at illustrating arrogance and defiance further characterized baroque paintings. In the painting, Adonis defies Venus’ pleas persuading him not to go hunting as he was destined to meet his death on that day.

Baroque paintings were mainly functional in explaining religious themes. The painting explains the ample relation between humankind and the gods as illustrated in the love experienced by Adonis and Venus. The painting is very dramatic and entertaining to viewers through its strong movements. The bright appearance of the painting is a depiction of Baroque art style that emphasized on advancing the beauty of humanity.

Venus and Adonis by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) - Renaissance (Italian)

Venus and Adonis by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), is an Italian renaissance oil on canvas painting, measuring, 1.86 x 2.07 m. The painting illustrates Venus persuading her mmortal lover not to go hunting, as a wild boar will kill him. However, Adonis shows some resistance to Venus’s pleas.

The theme of death is enhanced by the dark shadow falling on the mid ground. The shadow symbolizes uncertainty and death. Texture is extensively used in the fore ground grass as well as the background clouds. The cloud’s movement is uncertain; while some clouds are moving to the front; other clouds tend to move to the back. General restlessness is evident in the painting as illustrated in the movement of clouds and the ground, the dog and Adonis who seems to be in a hurry for his hunting mission. Line is roughly used on the clouds and the grass to illustrate the confusion and disturbance in the air. A cloud on the left side of the background symbolizes an unknown hungry beast. This foreshadows Adonis future as he is destined to be killed by a wild boar.

Light is effectively used in the painting as bright light falls on the foreground and background while shadow is cast on the mid ground. The painter focused his light on the main characters in the picture. The painting is slightly symmetrical as the characters are evenly balanced as all halves are evenly balanced with weight. 

Venus and Adonis by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), is a typical renaissance era painting as it emphasizes on portraying the human figure as the most perfect and realistic natural form. Similarly, renaissance art articulated on placing human forms in a natural background as illustrated in the painting where the setting is adorned by nature. The high renaissance art focused on painting nude human forms with the aim of articulating human beauty. The philosophy of humanism that articulates on the connectivity of the mortal with the spiritual world is emphasized in the painting as Venus; a goddess is illustrated to have fallen in love with a mortal.

The painting’s functional allegory is love as Venus is allegorized as the goddess of love. Venus’ love for Adonis who is a mortal is immense, as she desperately persuades him not to go hunting since it is destined that he was to meet his death on that day. The nudity of Venus and Adonis was a renaissance symbol of human beauty against nature.

Comparison of the two paintings

Venus and Adonis by Titian(Tiziano Vecellio) is an Italian Renaissance  while Venus and Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens is a Baroque period painting. Titian’s painting was done in a culture that emphasized on allegories. The painting is an allegory of love between Venus and Adonis. Moreover, the renaissance era emphasized on the beauty of human beauty against nature, thus the nudity of the female in the painting. To enhance human beauty against nature, lighting is focused on the human forms against the dimly lit nature.  On the other hand, Ruben’s baroque painting is different in subject matter, function and appearance from Titian’s renaissance painting because the baroque painting were mainly functional in explaining religious theme unlike the renaissance art, which focused on beauty and aesthetic values. The painting is very dramatic and entertaining to viewers through its strong movements. The bright appearance of the painting is a depiction of Baroque art style that emphasized on advancing the beauty of humanity.

The paintings are similar in their theme of love and death, besides similarity in the main characters- Venus and Adonis. However, Ruben’s baroque painting is brightly lit as compared to Titian’s renaissance painting. The two paintings have different backgrounds, whereby Titian’s painting has a closed dark mid ground and bright background while Ruben’s painting has a bright, open mid, and back grounds. In Titian’s painting, we see the Adonis and the Cupids front and Venus’ back. On the other hand, Ruben’s painting exposes us to Venus’s front and the Cupid and Adonis back.

In conclusion, the two paintings exhibit similar themes despite their varied backgrounds. Line and texture are effectively used in describing the theme of the painting. Moreover, lighting is extensively used in both painting, which exhibit human beauty against natural background. 

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