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Animals In The Paintings Of Titian: A Key To Hidden Meanings

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Chapter Summary

The question of disguised meanings, and particularly moralizations, in Titian's painting has been the subject of extremely conflicting opinions. Studies on the relationship between literary sources and Titian's visual adaptations often present a confusing picture by the multiplicity of hypothetical interpretations. This chapter examines certain leitmotifs in Titian's paintings that appear to have either a subordinate or an incidental purpose, or else are relegated to the background where they can easily be overlooked. It demonstrates that these images serve a key function in the iconography and have been deliberately disguised. While disguised symbolism is a common ploy in Renaissance art, the central importance of animals as a recurrent theme in Titian's work has not been recognized. The chapter begins with traditional examples of the dog and progresses to more problematic themes of the stag and hunt to present a comprehensive picture and underline the common denominator which unites them.

Keywords: animals in paintings; disguised symbolism; hidden meanings; iconography; Renaissance art; Titian's paintings



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