Artibus et Historiae no. 65 (XXXIII)2012, ISSN 0391-9064
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MARLENE LYNETTE EBERHART - Sensing, Time and the Aural Imagination in Titian’s Venus with Organist and Dog
This article examines the relationships between sensing, imagination and movement in Titian’s canvas of c. 1550, Venus with Organist (and Dog), Prado, n. 420. The author argues that the scene turns on actions activated by sounds, musical and otherwise, to create a witty conversation piece on the depicted actions of the organist, the woman, and the dog. Compared to prior scholarly emphasis on sight and touch, this article draws on recent scholarship in early modern sensory history, anthropology and urban studies as well as the consideration of performative space to draw attention to the lived experience of sound and its representation. This essay, therefore, suggests how one can re-imagine this painting in terms of an unfolding of aural events. In doing so, it illuminates the connections and contradictions existing between sixteenth-century aesthetic debates and interpretations in the scholarly literature.