1 Minute 1 Work: Gerhard Richter, Annunciation after Titian, 1973⁠

Robert Storr

In 1972, Gerhard Richter represented West Germany at the Venice Biennale, showcasing one of his most esteemed series of paintings: ’48 Portraits’. Whilst in Venice, Richter visited the Scuola Grande di San Rocco where he saw Titian’s scintillating ‘Annunciation’, c. 1539. So entranced by the work, he bought a postcard for keepsake. The following year, Richter began to copy the work, not once, not twice, but five times. With each incarnation, Richter’s soft brushstrokes got hazier, the forms of Titian’s canvas descending into a fuzzy near-monochrome of Venetian red. Learn more about Richter’s ardent commitment to Titian’s canvas — and the impossibility of such a painting for our times — with writer Robert Storr.

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This is a painting of Titian’s Annunciation. Gerhard, he was very much interested in Renaissance art, to the dismay of his avant-garde friends. He did not disparage the past at all. And so, he tried to make himself a copy of a painting that he admired, which is Titian’s Annunciation in this case. And he realised that even though he had the technical facility, the circumstances for making such an image and believing it were no longer the same as they were for Titian. And then he made I think altogether 5 versions, where each time it gets blurrier and blurrier and blurrier, because each time the thing that he’s trying to approach recedes from him, so to speak. And the cycle of these paintings — the aggregate of them —is the story of that retreat and of his attempt to get something that cannot be possessed.

With thanks to Gerhard Richter

 

Works

 

Annunciation

Titian, circa 1539

Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice

(CC BY-SA 4.0)

 

 

Verkündigung nach Tizian

Annunciation after Titian

Gerhard Richter, 1973

Oil on canvas

125 cm x 200 cm

Catalogue Raisonné: 343-1

© Gerhard Richter

 

 

Verkündigung nach Tizian

Annunciation after Titian

Gerhard Richter, 1973

Oil on canvas

125 cm x 200 cm

Catalogue Raisonné: 343-2

© Gerhard Richter

 

 

Verkündigung nach Tizian

Annunciation after Titian

Gerhard Richter, 1973

Oil on canvas

150 cm x 250 cm

Catalogue Raisonné: 344-1

© Gerhard Richter

 

 

Verkündigung nach Tizian

Annunciation after Titian

Gerhard Richter, 1973

Oil on canvas

150 cm x 250 cm

Catalogue Raisonné: 344-2

© Gerhard Richter

 

 

Verkündigung nach Tizian

Annunciation after Titian

Gerhard Richter, 1973

Oil on canvas

150 cm x 250 cm

Catalogue Raisonné: 344-3

 

 

Music

 

Sonnik 7.07

SONNIK, 2018

FMA

(CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

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