The Info List - Allegory Of Prudence

The Allegory of Prudence
Allegory of Prudence
(c. 1565–1570) is an oil painting attributed to the Italian artist Titian
and his assistants. It is in the National Gallery, London. The painting portrays three human heads, each facing in a different direction, above three animal heads, depicting (from left) a wolf, a lion and a dog. The painting is usually interpreted as operating on a number of levels.[1][2] At the first level, the different ages of the three human heads represent the "Three Ages of Man" (youth, maturity, old age). The different directions in which they are facing reflect a second, wider concept of Time itself as having a past, present and future. This theme is repeated in the animal heads which, according to some traditions, are associated with those categories of time. The third level, from which the painting has acquired its present name, is suggested by a barely visible inscription, EX PRAETERITO/PRAESENS PRUDENTER AGIT/NE FUTURA ACTIONẼ DETURPET (“From the experience of the past, the present acts prudently, lest it spoil future actions”). It may also be that the human faces are actual portraits of the aged Titian, his son Orazio, and a young cousin, Marco Vecellio, who, like Orazio, lived and worked with Titian.[3] Erwin Panofsky, in his classic exposition, suggests that the painting is specifically associated with the negotiations associated with the passing on of Titian’s property to the younger generations, in the light of his approaching death. So, the painting acts as a visual counsel to the three generations to act prudently in the administration of the inheritance. But Nicholas Penny is highly sceptical of this, and points out discrepancies between the human heads and other evidence of the appearance of the individuals. He doubts it was a personal project of any sort and feels that is "surely more likely that the painting was commissioned".[4] More recently the painting has been explained in quite different ways. Instead of an allegory of prudence, it has been seen as an allegory about sin and penitence. On this view, it amounts to an admission by Titian
that his failure to act prudently in his youth and middle age has condemned him to lead a regretful old age.[5] At the other extreme, the painting has been explained as asserting that the prudence which comes with experience and old age is an essential aspect of artistic discrimination and judgement. On this interpretation, the painting therefore acts as a rebuttal of the view that old age is the enemy of artistic achievement. On a more general level, the painting’s depiction of Titian
with his assistants Orazio and Marco is also intended as a defence of the prudence of the continuity of the Venetian workshop tradition.[6][7] Notes[edit]

^ Erwin Panofsky
Erwin Panofsky
and Fritz Saxl, “A Late -Antique Religious Symbol in Works by Holbein and Titian”, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, XLIX (1926), 177 ^ Penny, 236 to 242 ^ Titian's "Allegory of Prudence", A Postscript, in Meaning in the Visual Arts, University Press, 1982 edn ^ Penny, 241 ^ Simona Cohen, “Titian's London
Allegory and the three beasts of his selva oscura”, Renaissance Studies, 2000 (Vol 14, No 1) p 46 ^ Erin J Campbell, “Old Age and the Politics of Judgment in Titian’s allegory of prudence”, Word and Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Poetry, Vol 19 iss 4 2003, p 261 ^ Philip McCouat, "Titian, Prudence and the three-headed beast", Journal of Art in Society, http://www.artinsociety.com


Penny, Nicholas, National Gallery Catalogues (new series): The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings, Volume II, Venice 1540–1600, 2008, National Gallery Publications Ltd, ISBN 1857099133

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List of works


Jacopo Pesaro being presented by Pope Alexander VI to Saint Peter (1503–06) A Man with a Quilted Sleeve
A Man with a Quilted Sleeve
(c. 1509) La Schiavona
La Schiavona
(1510–12) Of a Man (1512) Vincenzo Mosti (c. 1520) Young Woman in a Black Dress
Young Woman in a Black Dress
(c. 1520) Man with a Glove
Man with a Glove
(c. 1520) Laura Dianti (c. 1520–25) Federico II Gonzaga (c. 1529) Charles V with a Dog (1533) Ippolito de' Medici (1533) Giacomo Doria (1533–35) Isabella d'Este (1534–36) La Bella
La Bella
(c. 1536) Girl in a Fur
Girl in a Fur
(1536-38) A Young Englishman (1540–45) Clarissa Strozzi (1542) The Vendramin Family (1543–47) Pietro Aretino (1545) Lavinia Vecellio (c. 1545) Pope Paul III (1545–46) Pope Paul III and His Grandsons
Pope Paul III and His Grandsons
(1545–46) Equestrian Portrait of Charles V
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V
(1548) Charles V (seated) (1548) Isabella of Portugal (1548) Philip II in Armour
Philip II in Armour
(1550) Christina of Denmark (1555–56) Jacopo Strada (1567–68)

Self portraits

Self-Portrait (1546–47) Self-Portrait (c. 1560)


Pastoral Concert
Pastoral Concert
(c. 1509 – also attributed to Giorgione) Dresden Venus (with Giorgione, c. 1510) Miracle of the Jealous Husband
Miracle of the Jealous Husband
(1511) The Three Ages of Man (c. 1512–14) Sacred and Profane Love
Sacred and Profane Love
(c. 1514) The Feast of the Gods
The Feast of the Gods
(1514) Lucretia and her Husband
Lucretia and her Husband
(1515) The Bravo (c. 1515) Flora (c. 1515) Salome (c. 1515) Vanity (c. 1515) Violante (c. 1515) Woman with a Mirror
Woman with a Mirror
(c. 1515) The Worship of Venus
The Worship of Venus
(1518–19) Venus Anadyomene (c. 1520) Bacchus and Ariadne
Bacchus and Ariadne
(1520–23) The Bacchanal of the Andrians
The Bacchanal of the Andrians
(1523–26) Eleven Caesars
Eleven Caesars
(1536-40) Venus of Urbino
Venus of Urbino
(1538) Alfonso d'Avalos Addressing his Troops
Alfonso d'Avalos Addressing his Troops
(1540) Venus and Musician
Venus and Musician
(1540s on, series) The Punishment of Tythus
The Punishment of Tythus
(1549) Danaë (series) (1543–65) Venus and Adonis (several versions) Pardo Venus
Pardo Venus
(1551) Venus with a Mirror
Venus with a Mirror
(1555) Perseus and Andromeda (1554-56) Diana and Actaeon (1556–59) Diana and Callisto
Diana and Callisto
(1556–59) The Death of Actaeon
The Death of Actaeon
(c. 1559–75) The Rape of Europa (c. 1560–62) Venus Blindfolding Cupid
Venus Blindfolding Cupid
(c. 1565) Allegory of Prudence
Allegory of Prudence
(c. 1565–70) Tarquin and Lucretia
Tarquin and Lucretia
(comp. 1571) Flaying of Marsyas (1570–76)


Christ Carrying the Cross (c. 1505 – also attributed to Giorgione) Bache Madonna
Bache Madonna
(c. 1508) St. Mark Enthroned
St. Mark Enthroned
(c. 1510) The Gypsy Madonna
The Gypsy Madonna
(c. 1510) Balbi Holy Conversation
Balbi Holy Conversation
(c. 1513) Noli me tangere (c. 1514) Madonna of the Cherries
Madonna of the Cherries
(1515) The Tribute Money (c. 1516) Assumption of the Virgin (1516–18) Pesaro Madonna
Pesaro Madonna
(1519–26) Gozzi Altarpiece
Gozzi Altarpiece
(1520) Malchiostro Annunciation
Malchiostro Annunciation
(c. 1520) The Entombment of Christ (c. 1520) Averoldi Polyptych
Averoldi Polyptych
(1520–22) The Aldobrandini Madonna
The Aldobrandini Madonna
(1530) The Madonna of the Rabbit
The Madonna of the Rabbit
(1530) Penitent Magdalene (1533) The Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple (1534-38) Saint John the Baptist (1540) The Crowning with Thorns (1542–43) The Fall of Man (c. 1550) Saint Jerome in Penitence (1552) The Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence (c. 1548–59) La Gloria (1554) Mater Dolorosa (c. 1555) Saint Jerome in Penitence (1575) Crucifixion (1558) The Entombment (1559) St Margaret and the Dragon (c. 1559) Annunciation (1559–64) Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria
Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria
(c. 1560) Penitent Magdalene (1565) Saint Sebastian (c. 1575) The Crowning with Thorns (1576) Pietà