Boston’s Museum of Fine Art is showing an exquisite collection of Titians, along with the work of two other fine Venetian painters, on view through August 16, 2009 — Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice. Included is Titian’s Supper at Emmaus from the Louvre. A confrontation plays out between a dog and cat beneath the table cloth. The dog is familiar. It is the same type of dog who laps up the blood of Marsyas in Titian’s painting done forty years later. The man standing with his hands in his belt is also familiar. Caravaggio changed his hat and direction of gaze but copied the gesture of both thumbs thrust into the belt for his own witness in both versions of his Supper at Emmaus, here and here. Titian’s tablecloth has a glinting pattern in the weave that must be seen in person to be appreciated. Did he use a screen to apply the geometric pattern? It is unbelievably fine and perfectly modulated as the cloth enters in and out of the light.
ABOVE: Titian’s Supper at Emmaus – 1535, gouache copies, 7.25 x 5.5 in (18.42 x 13.97 cm), 4/12/2009