Niccolo Aurelio

Niccolo Aurelio (1463-1531) was a secretary to the Venetian Council of Ten, and would later go on to gain, and then lose, the coveted position of Grand Chancellor. Aurelio is believed to have commissioned Titian in approximately 1514 to create the work Sacred and Profane Love. Aurelio is identified as the patron by the specific coat of arms of Aurelio’s that is seen in the center of the picture’s foreground on the fountain. The work is said to celebrate and commemorate Aurelio’s marriage to Laura Bagarotto, which occurred May 17, 1514. Laura was the daughter of Bertuccio Bagarotto, a prominent Paduan lawyer and the widow of Francesco Borromeo, also a Paduan nobleman. Both of these men had been executed in 1509 during the War of the League of Cambrai for supporting the imperial forces against Venice. Not only were the rebels, such as Laura’s father and previous husband, publicly hanged, but their estates were confiscated as well. In 1510 the Council of Ten decreed that the dowries of Paduan rebels be returned and, on the day before their wedding was announced, Laura’s dowry was returned. Thus this painting marks not only a marriage, but also historical moments during the War of the League of Cambrai and the restoration of the State.

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