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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Earlier Work of Titian.
The whole conception, the charpente, the contours of even the landscape are attributable to Bellini.  His are the carefully-defined, naked tree-trunks to the right, with above in the branches a pheasant, and on a twig, in the immediate foreground of the picture, a woodpecker; his is the rocky formation of the foreground with its small pebbles.[34] Even the tall, beetling crag, crowned with a castle sunset-lit—­so confidently identified with the rock of Cadore and its castle—­is Bellinesque in conception, though not in execution.  By Titian, and brushed in with a loose breadth that might be taken to betray a certain impatience and lack of interest, are the rocks, the cloud-flecked blue sky, the uplands and forest-growth to the left, the upper part of the foliage that caps the hard, round tree-trunks to the right.  If it is Titian that we have here, as certainly appears most probable, he cannot be deemed to have exerted his full powers in completing or developing the Bellinesque landscape.  The task may well, indeed, have presented itself to him as an uninviting one.  There is nothing to remind the beholder, in conception or execution, of the exquisite Giorgionesque landscapes in the Three Ages and the Sacred and Profane Love, while the broader handling suggests rather the technical style, but in no way the beauty of the sublime prospect which opens out in the Bacchus and Ariadne.

CHAPTER III

The “Worship of Venus” and “Bacchanal” Place in Art of the “Assunta”—­The “Bacchus and Ariadne”—­So-called Portraits of Alfonso of Ferrara and Laura Dianti—­The “St. Sebastian” of Brescia—­Altar-pieces at Ancona and in the Vatican—­The “Entombment” of the Louvre—­The “Madonna di Casa Pesaro”—­Place among Titian’s works of “St. Peter Martyr.”

In the year in which Titian paid his first visit to Ferrara, Ariosto brought out there his first edition of the Orlando Farioso.[35] A greater degree of intimacy between poet and painter has in some quarters been presupposed than probably existed at this stage of Titian’s career, when his relation to Alfonso and the Ferrarese Court was far from being as close as it afterwards became.  It has accordingly been surmised that in the Worship of Venus and the Bacchanal, painted for Alfonso, we have proof that he yielded to the influence of the romantic poet who infused new life-blood into the imaginative literature of the Italian Renaissance.  In their frank sensuousness, in their fulness of life, in their unforced marriage of humanity to its environment, these very pictures are, however, essentially Pagan and Greek, not by any process of cold and deliberate imitation, but by a similar natural growth from a broad groundwork provided by Nature herself.  It was the passionate and unbridled Dosso Dossi who among painters stood in the closest relation to Ariosto, both in his true vein of romanticism and his humorous eccentricity.

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