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Man and Culture

Titians Penitent Magdalene from the collection of Palatine Gallery: from Holy Scripture to Pietro Aretino

Yaylenko Evgeny

PhD in Art History

associate professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University

119991, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Vorob'evy Gory, 1






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Abstract: The subject of this article is the painting “Penitent Magdalene” by Titian (middle 1530’s, Florence, Palatine Gallery). The key research goal lies in demonstration of the origins of artist’s message and determine the its potential literary prototype. Raising the question in such form is substantiated by the explicit erotic intonations expressed in the painting, which do not quite align with the religious content of Titian’s work, unless it implies the contrast juxtaposition of the erotica and piousness of the conscious stylistic device. Thus, the author attempts to find a possible literary prototype that would contain similar contrast. The research method consists in the search of conceptual parallels between the content of Titian’s “Penitent Magdalene” and Pietro Aretino’s “The Humanity of Christ” (1535). The main result lies in determination of the essence of artistic method of Titian in painting the “Penitent Magdalene”, which consists in the stylistics device of contraposition borrowed from P. Aretion. Its application, reflected in contrast juxtaposition of the successful harlot to her own image as a repenting sinner, allowed justifying the presence of erotic motives in the painting as an expressive antithesis to her soul’s aspiration towards God.

Keywords: antithesis, Pietro Aretino, Penitent Magdalen, Titian, art, Venice, Renaissance, courtesan, portrait, erotica
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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