Keynote lecture: Miguel Falomir (Museo Nacional del Prado): “Titian, Philip and the Poesie: The Artist, The Patron” (Harvard University, Department of History of Art + Architecture, Conference "Visual Poetry")


Thursday, April 7, 2022, 6:00pm


Online and in-person. See details for registration link
- Register for streaming here.


Miguel Falomir’s lecture is the first event of the two-day conference Visual Poetry: The Politics and Erotics of Seeing, Titian and Beyond.

Introduction of Miguel Falomir: Alina Payne (Villa I Tatti/Harvard University)


".. interim che metto al ordine le poesie..."

“...while I work on the Poesie...”


Poetry: this is how Titian referred to his mythological paintings in a now famous letter written from Venice in 1553 to his patron, Philip II. Titian’s use of the term speaks of the humanistic culture that modelled an approach to an art of vitality and power, one of mythology and the nude intertwined in painting. Both artist and patron collaborated in its creation and in the construction of the erotic gaze, understood as “visual poetry”.


Treasured behind curtains hanging in the private apartments of Madrid's Royal Alcázar, Titian’s paintings comprised one of the most exquisite collections of erotic painting of the early modern period. The paintings’ force was felt. Admired by a select number of visitors, the poesie were copied and widely interpreted by painters, such as Peter Paul Rubens. As their steward and custodian, Diego Velázquez carefully studied them, arguably becoming the inheritor and innovator of this tradition.


Taking the poesie as a point of departure, Visual Poetry: The Politics and Erotics of Seeing will investigate the invention and significance of erotic visual culture in early modern Europe, reflecting on its artistic afterlife. The conference will address the diverse relationships of the humanistic tradition and Antiquity with erotic painting since the Renaissance. Papers will consider pressing questions of the representation of sexuality and violence in the art of this period, the nature of their spectatorship, and the political dimension of Titian’s poesie at a time of territorial conquest and the building of a global Empire.


Organized by Shawon Kinew & Felipe Pereda with the support of the Department of the History of Art + Architecture and Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies, and contributions by the Cervantes Institute, Harvard Art Museums, and the Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities.


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