Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Temptation of Christ

Title: The Temptation of Christ

Artist: Titian (Tiziano Vecelli)

Medium: Oil on panel

Size: 90 x 70 cm

Date: c. 1516-1525

Location: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Matthew 4:3-4: And the tempter coming up to him said, If thou be Son of God, speak, that these stones may become loaves of bread. But he answering said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which goes out through God's mouth.

This painting portrays one of three temptations that Christ faced during his forty days fast in the desert. Christ is being tempted by a young demon, perhaps symbolizing the true corruption of innocence, that presents a stone and challenges Christ to perform the miracle of turning it into bread, proving that he is truly the Son of God. He is tempted to despair of his Father's goodness, and to distrust his Father's care. It is one of the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition; and those who are brought into straits have need to double their guard. Christ answered all the temptations of Satan with “It is written”; to set an example, he appealed to what was written in the Scriptures. Let us learn not to take any wrong courses for our supply when our wants are ever so pressing: in some way the Lord will provide. Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, may have commissioned this painting in about 1516-25.

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488 – August 1572) better known as Titian, was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Republic of Venice. Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (recalling the famous final line of Dante's Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art. Few of the pupils and assistants of Titian became well-known in their own right; for some being his assistant was probably a lifetime career, but it is said that Titian employed El Greco (or Dominikos Theotokopoulos) in his last years.

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