Venus, accompanied by Cupid, is lying on a ceremonial couch in an open loggia. Her slightly raised torso is set against the background of a red velvet curtain, which covers the right upper third of the picture and opens up a view of an extensive landscape in the centre. On the left, at the foot of the couch, a well-dressed cavalier is sitting in front of the organ; his hands are on the keyboard but he has eyes only for the goddess’s bare beauty. The unusual combination of Venus and organ player, which exists in a few other variations, is an iconographic innovation by Titian. There are contradictory hypotheses about the origins and interpretation of the painting: some say that the picture follows neo-Platonic ideas by symbolically representing the senses of seeing and hearing as they recognise beauty. But this is countered by the notion that the nude female figure is a lady or courtesan who is being wooed by the organist with the aid of his music, with Cupid interpreted


  • Title: Venus with the Organ Player
  • Creator: Titian
  • Date Created: around 1550
  • Physical Dimensions: w210.0 x h115.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Style: Italian
  • Copyright Text: Audio: © Tonwelt / Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz // Photo: © http://www.bpk-images.de, b p k - Photo Agency / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders Text: © http://www.prestel.com, Prestel Verlag / Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Stefan Moret
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist information: Titian was an Italian painter and the most important figure of the Venetian school in the 16th century. He was apprenticed to Sebastiano Zuccato in Venice but also had access to the workshops of other prestigious Venetian artists such as Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, which is how he met Sebastiano del Piombo, Lorenzo Lotto and Giorgione. In 1513, he opened his own studio where he trained several artists. Between 1516 and 1518 he created the most famous painting of his career, The Assumption of the Virgin. In 1565 he went to Cadore where he designed the decorations for the church at Pieve. Titian was the first Italian artist who had international clients. His varied abilities ranged from portraits and landscape backgrounds to mythological and religious subjects. His permanent interest, however, was directed at colour and his colourism had a great influence on later artists. A shade of red has been named after him: Titian red.
  • Artist Place of Death: Venice, Italy
  • Artist Place of Birth: Pieve di Cadore, Italy
  • Artist Gender: male
  • Artist Dates: c. 1488-90 - 25.08.1576

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