The dominant role of female beauty in sixteenth-century Venice is unique both in the history of the Republic and other parts of the world. One reason for this is the Serenissima’s distinctive political-social structure, which granted women special rights in connection with their dowry and their ability to inherit; another was Venice’s pivotal role as an international cultural centre. The rise of influential publishing houses attracted renowned poets and humanists such as Pietro Bembo, Sperone Speroni and Lodovico Dolce, who in their writings increasingly focused on women and their vital role for the family and the continuation of humanity as such. The crucial impetus for the visual realisation of this idea came from the Serenissima’s greatest artist: Titian. For him, artistic beauty was identical with female beauty. He was less interested in the canon of exterior beauty than in a women’s character, in femininity as such. Titian elevates every depiction of a woman into a celebration of womanhood.
Published for the exhibition in Vienna and Milan, the book aims to present the female image through the spectrum of possible themes and to compare individual artistic approaches between Titian and other painters of the time. The reader will experience the various aspects of female idealisation.