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The Concert
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Arty Fact

mbaa's picture

Contributor

Have you ever been mocked by musicians at a concert? Well, it looks like Titian was, and he made sure an example was made of the guy.

He probably wanted to warn unsuspecting concert-goers against them. “That singer, on the left, what a prick! Thinks he’s a real rockstar” is what he must have told his friends. The deal with that line of thought is that Titian’s wrong. The singer on the left was a real rockstar. He had the attitude, the piercing gaze, and the flamboyant sense of style. I hope Titian didn’t kill his dream.

Before I tell you about the three men in the painting, I should tell you a little about Titian’s archrival. Giorgione was older than Titian. While our boy, was working with Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione was busy creating a new kind of composition. These works would often comprise two or more people, engrossed in the middle of a scene, like when you randomly hit the pause button. As they say in Westworld, “Freeze all motor functions”. The artist investigates his figures as he paints them, the viewers investigate the story. Titian’s mind was blown. He loved it. He essentially copied the formula off Giorgione and flew with it. Vasari believed Giorgione was Titian’s master as their work was very similar. What really got to Giorgione was the fact that Titian was doing better than him. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t live long enough to compete with Titian. He got caught in that messy plague business and died in 1510. Titian’s path was now clear. He could now be the Venetian King of the High Renaissance.

The Concert was completed around the time Giorgione died, in 1511-1513. For a long time, this painting was attributed to Giorgione. (That happened a lot.) The singer to the left, the one who looks like he could murder you, looked like a Giorgione figure. In 1976, during a restoration exercise, the “true” identity of the painter was revealed. The restoration team took into account X-ray analysis and concluded in favor of Titian. The man in the middle is playing the spinet, a kind of harpsichord. He’s the only one who seems totally into it. He is also the only thing in the painting that is decidedly not Giorgione-esque. The guy on the right is a Dominican monk, who’s just put down his viola de gamba to get his colleague’s attention. 

Sources

Sources

  1. Brown, David Alan. “Disharmony in the Concert -.” ARTnews, January 24, 2012. http://www.artnews.com/2006/06/01/disharmony-in-the-concert/.
  2. The National Gallery, London. “Giorgione.” The National Gallery, n.d. https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/giorgione.
  3. “The Concert Titian: Artworks: Uffizi Galleries.” Titian | Artworks | Uffizi Galleries, n.d. https://www.uffizi.it/en/artworks/the-concert.
  4. Brown, David Alan, Sylvia Ferino-Pagden, Jaynie Anderson, Susan Scott, and Linda Parshall. Bellini, Giorgione, Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2006.