The Guardian‘s Jonathan Jones has long been one of my favorite writers on art and art history. Anyone who keeps up with his blog, Jonathan Jones on art, knows him to be an unabashed fan of the legendary Venetian painter Titian. It seems that nearly once a month he has a new article that at least mentions the famous Renaissance artist. I, too, am a huge fan of the 16th-century artist of Venice.
Jones’ latest post is in praise, specifically, of Titian’s clouds. In the post, he also mentions Giovanni Bellini’s portrait of Leonardo Loredan, which I once painted a sort of tribute to (The Melting Doge). What really blows me away though is the eloquence in which Jones is able to describe Titian’s work:
“You can breathe some of these paintings. The works of Giovanni Bellini are very vivid: his portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan seems infused with the calm, warm air of Venice; it has tangible atmosphere, it is oxygenated. Nature gets more dynamic with Giorgione’s Tempest. In Titian’s paintings, the clouds play fantastic roles in elusive dramas of the spirit and senses.
In The Bacchanal of the Andrians, the poised ambiguity depicted by Titian in Sacred and Profane Love gives way to revel and joy. A shepherd and hunters populate the green valley behind the marble basin. Beyond them, a village twinkles by a blue lake; above it all, silken clouds erupt over a band of yellow sky. Silver light catches these massing clouds, illuminating them like a flash of emotion or truth. Again and again, that kind of heart-stopping incandescence catches Titian’s clouds. Boozers cavort. Nudes disport. Yet above their pastoral party, great piled columns of white vapour are caught by the sun and set alight as if by inner fire.”
Mercy. I sure wish I could write like that. Pictured above is one of five paintings that comprise Titian’s Danaë series, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.