Flora by Titian


Titian (Tiziano...
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"HERE blushing Flora paints th' enameled ground," wrote Pope. She was the goddess of flowers and of blooming vegetation and the beloved of Zephyrus, the wind. Milton, writing of Adam contemplating Eve as she lay asleep, speaks of the love of Zephyrus for Flora:

. . . He on his side
Leaning half raised, with looks of cordial love,
Hung over her enamoured, and beheld
Beauty which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice,
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whispered thus: "Awake!
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heaven's last, best gift, my ever-new delight."

It is said that Titian's model for Flora was his mistress. And a clerk taking inventory of the property of Peter Paul Rubens listed "Four pictures of Venetian courtesans, after Titian." "Flora" is believed to have been one of them. Vasari records that Titian painted his portraits of ideal womanhood more from imagination than from models. Some of us, looking at "Flora," will believe this.

The Assumption of the Virgin, 1516-18

The Assumption of the Virgin, 1516-18
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