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. 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.