Poetry in Paint: Titian’s Mythological Paintings with Dr. Thomas Dalla Costa - Context Travel

Poetry in Paint: Titian’s Mythological Paintings with Dr. Thomas Dalla Costa


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This seminar is about the inventiveness and creativity of one of the most influential artists ever. It explores some of the most important mythological paintings executed by Titian (c.1490-1576), including the celebrated “poesie” he painted for Philip II, King of Spain, between 1551 and 1562.

Titian is one of the greatest and most influential artists of all times. Originally from a valley in the Dolomites, he moved to Venice at the beginning of the sixteenth century, where in the space of barely two decades he became the official painter of the Republic and one of the most sought after artists also among foreign kings, noblemen and patrons. His sense of light and colour, his ability to depict nature, the flesh of his characters, but also their feelings and their psychology, made Titian one of the most requested painters of portraits and mythological paintings.

Through the latter, he represented the lives and passions of gods, heroes and humans like no one else, prompting us to confront our own understanding of desire, love, fear, violence and ultimately death. Titian’s mythologies underscore what can be achieved through the medium of painting, how it can touch upon basic concerns we all have. With his composition, and his inventive rendition of the human body and its immersion in landscape, Titian makes us aware of nature, giving us a sense of aesthetic pleasure and emotional satisfaction that can also have an unsettling, disturbing dimension.

Lead by the art historian Thomas Dalla Costa, a Titian specialist and assistant curator of the groundbreaking exhibition "Titian. Love, Desire, Death” (The National Gallery, London, March-December 2020), this seminar will reveal you the secrets of some of the artist's most striking and influential artworks, and will also give you the opportunity to travelling virtually to the now closed National Gallery show.

Thomas Dalla Costa holds a PhD in Art History from Verona University. He is a specialist in Italian Renaissance Art, in particular on Sixteenth-century Venetian paintings and drawings. In 2014 he was Assistant Curator for the exhibition ""Paolo Veronese. L’illusione della realtà"" (held in Verona, July-October 2014). In 2015 he was Post-doctoral Researcher at Verona University, with a project on Titian’s celebrated series of Venus and Adonis. The outcome of this research has been recently published in a book (Venice, April 2019). As a Research Fellow for Save Venice Inc., he edited a book on Jacopo Tintoretto (Venice, 2018), and contributed to the research for the exhibition ""Tintoretto 1519-2019"" (Venice, September 2018-January 2019) and ""Tintoretto. Artist of Renaissance Venice"" (Washington, March-July 2019). In 2017 Thomas curated the exhibition ""Venezia Rinascimento: Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese"" (Moscow, June-August 2018). Between February 2019 and December 2020 he was Curatorial Fellow at the National Gallery in London, where he assisted the curator of the exhibition ""Titian. Love, Desire, Death"" (March-December 2020). He has published a number of articles on Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese’s workshop. He has a strong interest in the artists’ creative process, and the pivotal role of drawings to Venetian Renaissance workshops.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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