MEMC: Antonio Baldassarre ‘Titian, Venus and the Music’
MEMC and RBSC Present
Revisiting Supposedly Known Stories: Titian, Venus and the Music – Antonio Baldassarre
In his last creative period (ca. 1550-1576), Titian created––partly in collaboration with his workshop––a series of paintings supposedly presenting the goddess Venus closely linked with musical narratives. The single canvases of these series seem to differ from each other only slightly at first glance. Closer consideration reveals, however, a different perspective. The important role and function that music plays in all of these instances can hardly be missed: It is emphatically underlined by the distinctive presence of musicians, musical instrument and musical symbols. In general the canvases express both Titian’s special relationship with music, and the particular challenges of visualising such an ephemeral art as music. In this paper, the popular interpretation of the canvases as an allegory of music, and as the representation of Neoplatonic concepts will be considered and challenged, and a different reading proposed, based upon the analysis of the numerous obvious formal and topical discrepancies that the paintings comprise.
Antonio Baldassarre is Vice Dean, Professor and Head of Research and Development of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, School of Music. He holds a PhD from the University of Zurich, and has held research and teaching positions at the Research Center for Music Iconography at The City University of New York, the universities of Basel and Zurich, the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts in Belgrade, the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, the Facultad de Música of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and the University of Tasmania. He is President of Association Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM), and a Member of the Directorium of the International Musicological Society. He has extensively researched and published on topics of music history from those of the late eighteenth century to contemporary music, music iconography, visual culture, performing studies, music historiography and the social and cultural history of music.
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