The Trial

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Titorelli Character Analysis

A painter commissioned to make portraits of court officials. His position has given him an insider’s knowledge of the judiciary, and he is willing to use it to help Josef. When Josef visits the painter’s squalid apartment, Titorelli explains the court’s hopelessly dysfunctional acquittal system, and the fact that no one ever gets acquitted. On the way out, Titorelli sells three identical landscape paintings to a bewildered Josef.

Titorelli Quotes in The Trial

The The Trial quotes below are all either spoken by Titorelli or refer to Titorelli. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Oxford University Press edition of The Trial published in 2009.
Chapter 7 Quotes

‘Yes,’ said the painter, ‘it was in the commission that I had to paint her like that, it’s actually Justice and the Goddess of Victory at the same time.’ ‘That’s not a good combination,’ said K. with a smile, ‘Justice has to be in repose, otherwise the scales will wobble and a just verdict will not be possible.’ ‘I’m following my client’s wishes,’ the painter said. ‘Yes, of course,’ said K., who had not intended to offend anyone with his remark. ‘You’ll have painted the figure as it is on the chair.’ ‘No,’ said the painter, ‘I’ve never seen either the figure or the chair, but I was told what I was to paint.’

Related Characters: Josef K. (speaker), Titorelli (speaker)
Related Symbols: Titorelli’s Painting of the Judge
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

One of Josef's clients has admitted that a friend of his named Titorelli has told him that Josef is on trial; Josef decides to visit Titorelli, a painter who paints portraits of court officials. Titorelli is confused about why Josef has come, though he still shows Josef his paintings, including a portrait of the judge, which features a depiction of the figures of Justice and Victory mixed into one. In this passage, Josef points out that the combination makes it looks as if Justice's scales are tipped, which would symbolize unfair judgment; Titorelli, indifferent, responds that he only paints what he is told to paint. 

The portrait of the Judge is a perfect representation of the corrupt and skewed legal system. Titorelli's attempt to fuse the symbols for Justice and Victory show how far the law has strayed from the aim of delivering fair, unbiased judgment to citizens; after all, if the aim of the law is victory, this prohibits the courts from acting impartially. Furthermore, Titorelli's reason for painting the portrait in this way proves how the law came to be so unjust in the first place. When questioned by Josef, Titorelli responds that he simply follows orders, showing that when people mindlessly obey authority without using their own rational judgment, the outcome will be a system that is nonsensical and absurd. 

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Whenever I had the opportunity to go to the court myself, I always availed myself of it, I’ve listened to countless trials at important stages and followed them as long as they were held in open court, and, I have to admit, I have never come across a single genuine acquittal.

Related Characters: Titorelli (speaker)
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

Having discussed his paintings with Josef, Titorelli asks Josef if he is innocent; Josef has responded that he is, and Titorelli says that this makes the situation "simple." Titorelli has told Josef that there are three kinds of acquittal, but then says that he has witnessed "countless trials" and has never seen "a single genuine acquittal." Titorelli's descriptions of the legal system throughout this scene are contradictory and bizarre. He claims to have extensive knowledge of how the court works, though his explanations are largely nonsensical. Even more disturbingly, Titorelli does not seem troubled by the bias he describes, and insists that Josef's innocence will make the trial easy, even though it is obvious from his description that people are always condemned whether they are innocent or not.  

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Titorelli Character Timeline in The Trial

The timeline below shows where the character Titorelli appears in The Trial. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
...manufacturer explains that he got word of Josef’s trial from a friend of his named Titorelli, who makes a living painting portraits of court officials. The manufacturer offers to introduce Josef... (full context)
Alienation and Control Theme Icon
Josef accepts a letter of recommendation and Titorelli’s address from the manufacturer. He decides to visit the painter straightaway. In the lobby, he... (full context)
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
The Absurd Theme Icon
Josef makes his way to Titorelli’s neighborhood, which is located near the courts. The painter’s building is utterly squalid. Josef ascends... (full context)
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
The Absurd Theme Icon
Titorelli reads the letter from the manufacturer, but still does not seem to understand why Josef... (full context)
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
The Absurd Theme Icon
The Unknowable and Interpretation Theme Icon
Titorelli explains his knowledge of the court. If Josef is to be acquitted, the painter says,... (full context)
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
The Absurd Theme Icon
Alienation and Control Theme Icon
As Josef grows increasingly uncomfortable in the stifling air of the poorly-ventilated apartment, Titorelli explains the apparent acquittal. This acquittal is temporary and can be reversed at any time... (full context)
Justice vs. The Law Theme Icon
The Absurd Theme Icon
The Unknowable and Interpretation Theme Icon
...hear that it is essentially impossible for a defendant to regain his freedom. He leaves Titorelli’s apartment in a rush, but promises to let the painter know what sort of acquittal... (full context)
The Absurd Theme Icon
Alienation and Control Theme Icon
To avoid the girls outside, Titorelli leads Josef out the back door. Josef is shocked to discover that this door leads... (full context)