Sleeping Venus

(c. 1510; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie)
   The Sleeping Venus was painted by Giorgione, and perhaps completed by his pupil Titian. Unfortunately, heavy repainting in the 19th century has altered the work. X-rays have revealed that originally a Cupid knelt at Venus' feet, which would have provided balance to the composition. Also, some of the softness of the contours and facial details have been lost. In spite of these problems, the work still remains as a groundbreaking example of Renaissance art. It presents the goddess of love sleeping in the landscape, her body echoing the shape of the natural forms around her. The figure's voluptuousness, her unabashed pose, and the lushness of the landscape in which she exists are common to Giorgione's art—a mode of representation of mythical scenes that would have an impact on the Venetian masters of the 16th century. This work presents the first female recumbent nude, a theme that was to become one of the most popular in the history of art.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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