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Titian'S London Allegory And The Three Beasts Of His Selva Oscura

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the theory that what appears to be an exceptional theme actually derives from long and well-documented literary and artistic traditions. It suggestes that Titian's visual formulation of this theme is so unique in his painting with comprising three beasts that it had no direct predecessors or followers. Finally, it explains why, and under what circumstances, this painting was created. The interpretation of the London Allegory set forth illustrates another aspect of disguised animal symbolism in Titian's work. The theme of human carnality was implicit in Titian's art. Several of the leitmotifs used by Ochino in his sermons can also be found in the completed form of Titian's Allegory, painted about twenty years later. The painting was transformed into a unique personal expression of the failing artist and the penitent sinner who found himself in a selva oscura and feared that he had lost the path to Purgatory.

Keywords: beasts; London Allegory; Selva Oscura; theme of human carnality; Titian's art



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