Titian --> Tiziano Vecellio 1485-1576 BACK

Tiziano Vecellio (widely known as Titian) was born in Pieve di Cadore, north of Venice in 1477 (though many scholars dispute this year in favor of 1487). As a young man, Titian studied with both Gentile Bellini and Giovanni Bellini. Giovanni would have a more long lasting effect on Titian's style, however.

In 1508, Titian was called upon by Giorgione to assist in painting frescos on the exterior of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. However, since these paintings were done outside, the weather had eaten away at them and exists only as fragmented ruins now. Since Titian worked so closely with Giorgione during the first decade of the 1500's, however, many scholars disagree about which paintings were actually done by Titian and which were done by Giorgione. Of these disputed works, the most important are Nativity and Concert Champ´┐Żtre, both of which are widely attributed to Giorgione (although the latter has been recently reexamined and many scholars how consider that a Titian). Another painting from this time, The Gypsy Madonna, while it is considered one of the "disputed works", is widely considered to be a Titian because the painting is an adaptation of one of Giovanni Bellini's madonnas. Also, the brush strokes and color act as a foreshadowing to Titian's style later in life.

In 1511, Titian began to work as an independent painter; enhancing his style to paint the narratives of the three Miracles of St. Anthony. In these frescoes, Titian displays his prowess at painting emotional faces and poses. During the second decade of the 1500's, Titian also painted The Three Ages of Man, Sacred and Profane Love, Worship of Venus and Bacchanal of the Andrians, Bacchus and Ariadne, Assumption of the Virgin and Madonna of the House of Pesaro. All of these works display Titian's skill at depicting human emotion and movement. Titian also revolutionized Sacre Conversazioni (the classic picture of The Madonna surrounded by Saints) by placing the Madonna to the right of the pictures instead of in the center. Upon the death of Giovanni Bellini in 1516, Titian became official painter to the Republic.

In 1530, with the completion of Death of Saint Peter, Titian exhibited his ability to capture action in painting not only people, but also the background -- trees, etc. During this time Titian's work became more heavily weighted toward portraiture. Young Giorgio Cornaro was one of his subjects in a 1538 painting. Among other prominent subjects were Pope Paul III (1546) and Charles V (1548), Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor appointed Titian court painter and gave him the rank of Count Palatine and Knight of the Golden Spur.

In 1550, Titian returned to Venice and began work on several mythology-based paintings for King Phillip II of Spain. These two works, Danae and Rape of Europa demonstrate a change in Titian's style. These paintings exhibit loose textures and fading bacgrounds that his earlier works did not possess. Another important works of this time period are Death of Actaeon, Flaying of Marsyas and The Nymph and the Shepherd.

Titian's final work would not be completed. This last work was the Pieta' (now in the Accademia Museum in Venice). It was created for his own tomb and completed after his death by Palma il Giovane. Titian died on August 27, 1576 in Venice.

Image List

Portrait of Cardinal Pietro Bembo

Christ Carrying the Cross


Portrait of Doge Francesco Venier

Flaying of Marsyas

Francesco Rovere

Pentitent Magdalene

Portrait of a Gentleman

St Jerome

Self Portrait


Venus with Mirror

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