Storia dell’arte  | Gennaio – Aprile 1976
Philipp Fehl, Paul Watson
Ovidian Delight and Problems in Iconography: Two Essays on Titian’s Rape of Europa.
The two essays which are here presented, though written with somewhat different purposes in mind, nonetheless originated from the same desire to examine critically the imputations of profound bookishness and philosophical programming to which Titian’s art, of late, has been subjected. Our hope ís to return, if possible, to a view of the poetry of the painting which links Titian’s Rape of Europa to the joy, the banter, the irony, the passion and the sorrow of the art of Ovid whose Metamorphoses time and again were a chief source of Titian’s mythological paintings.
The authors met some time ago at a symposium on Venetian art at Johns Hopkins University and discovered that each had written an essay on Titian’s Rape of Europa (which had recently been challenged in its derivation from Ovid) to show how Ovidian the invention of the picture really is. As it happens, the two essays complement each other; they are therefore here offered jointly with the hope that they will invite readers — who may have been overawed by the learned complexity which discovers forgotten texts and esoteric meaning in great works of art — to take heart again and consider that a little Latin and less Greek may have gone far to equip Titian to paint mythological pictures with a grand and compassionate accuracy.