THE PIETA

TITIAN: 1575-1576

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1. ST JEROME

NEW TESTAMENT:DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
342 AD (modern day Croatia)-420 AD (Bethlehem)

ATTRIBUTES: crucifix, skull, lion, owl

SEEN AS/WITH: reading in his study, red rob or red hat, repentant hermit in the desert beating his chest with a stone.

STORY: He revised and translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew sources into the Latin vulgate.

NOTE:
Titian portrays himself as Saint Jerome, he was probably around 80 years old when he painted this. He died same year.

Above is a self portrait he did a few almost 10 years earlier in 1567 to compare.

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2. MARY

NEW TESTAMENT: BIBLICAL FIGURE
18 BC (Bethlehem)-30AD (Jerusalem,Ephesus?)

ATTRIBUTES: blue mantle

STORY: Virgin mother of Jesus who was conceived thru Holy Spirit.

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3. MARY MAGDALENE

NEW TESTAMENT/BIBLICAL FIGURE

ATTRIBUTES: box or container of ointment

SEEN AS/WITH: usually without head covering

STORY: Little is known about her life. She is mentioned by name 12 times in the gospels. She traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection.

NOTE: She is the only figure that appears to be moving.

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4. MOSES

OLD TESTAMENT: AUTHOR FIRST 5 BOOKS HEBREW BIBLE
?1200,1300, 1400 BC?. (Egypt, Mount Nebo Jordan)

ATTRIBUTES: rod, horns (The idea of a horned Moses started in the 4th century with the Latin translation of the Bible by St Jerome. It is suspected he did not have had a word for "the rays of light" coming from Moses' head and translated it from hebrew into ‘horn’ for its similar shape.

SEEN AS/WITH: 2 tablets

STORY: Moses is revered as a great prophet and teacher. He was born in Egypt to Hebrew parents, who set him afloat on the Nile in a reed basket to save him from an edict calling for the death of all newborn Hebrew males. Found by the pharaoh’s daughter, he was raised in the Egyptian court. After killing a brutal Egyptian taskmaster, he fled to Midian, where Yahweh (God) revealed himself in a burning bush and called Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt. With the help of his brother Aaron, Moses pleaded with the pharaoh for the Israelites’ release. The pharaoh let them go after Yahweh had cursed Egypt with a series of plagues. He quickly changed his mind and sent his army after them. Yahweh parted the waters of the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to pass, then drowned the pursuing Egyptians.

Yahweh made a covenant with the Israelites at Mount Sinai and delivered the Ten Commandments to Moses, who continued to lead his people through 40 years of wandering in the wilderness until they reached the edge of Canaan. He died before he could enter the Promised Land.

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6. HELLESPONTINE SIBYL

GREEK LITERATURE & LEGEND: PROPHETESS
dates not clear ?600-400 BC
Sybil's named after the location they came from so Hellespontine today would be northern turkey

ATTRIBUTES: ?
SEEN WITH: ?

STORY:
This prophet was thought to have prophesized the coming of Christ and his crucifixion.

The sibyls were female prophets of Greek and Roman mythology who prophesied at holy sites. Their prophecies, which emerged as riddles to be interpreted by priests, were inspired by Apollo or other gods. By the first century BC, there were at least ten sibyls, located in Greece, Italy, the Levant, and Asia Minor

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7. ARM

WHY????? Is an arm in the container?

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8. LION ST MARK

Symbol of Venice is on the container.

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9. VOTIVE PAINTING

This is supposedly Titian and his son (Orazio) in this little painting in the painting. They are praying to the Pieta for relief from plague. Titian died before finishing this painting and his son a few wks after him.

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10. CREST OF TITIAN'S FAMILY

Vecellio family crest with the double headed Hapsburg eagle symbolising the knighthood conferred upon Titian by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

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11. INSCRIPTION

Inscription added by Palma il Giovane reads:
“what Titian left incomplete, Palma reverently completed and dedicated to God.”

It is confusing if the painting was actually unfinished. Some thoughts are that Titian himself did not consider the Pietà unfinished.

Not clear what exactly was painted by Giovane, possibly he added detail to the angel carrying the torch.

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5. MOSAICS

The pelican is feeding its young by pecking on its breast to draw blood, which was a visual symbol of Christ’s sacrifice and for his Resurrection.

In ancient Europe it was believed that the pelican would cut its breast open with its beak and feed its young with its own blood if there was not enough food, even though pelicans don’t actually do that. Some even believed that the pelican had the power to bring its dead young back to life by giving them its blood.

This belief lasted at least until the 17th century.