Titian – Master of The Renaissance Art

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Titian

Titian

Tiziano Vecelli or Titian was another Italian painter from renaissance era born in 1488. He was one important member of Venetian School which included other major artists like Tintoretto, Veronese and Bassano. By his contemporaries, he was considered as ‘The Sun Amidst Small Stars. He drew portraits, landscapes, mythology and religious subjects. The style and use of colors in paintings was his most admired part in his paintings.

His study in paintings started at the age of nine under a minor painter Sebastian Zuccato. After learning under him until he turned seventeen, he felt his mentor was not appreciating his work.  Then he decided to move to his brothers Genitile and Giovanni Bellini. They were fine artist themselves and Titian learned about using oil on canvas at their workplace. Even there titan didn’t stayed for long. After that he went to learn under a skillful artist Giorgione. Giorgione was a skilled artist in fresco art. Titian grasped the same art from him.

After learning sufficient for the base, he started his professional life. Even at the beginning of his profession, his efficiency in painting was one of the best.  In his early works, the fresco of Hercules in Morosini palace is considered significant. Other than that, Gypsy Madonna in Vienna, Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth are also his early works.

From 1516 to 1530, the period of his mastery and maturity, he produced his most appraised works like Assumption Of The Virgin – known for its colorism (on the left), Pesaro Madonna, The Death Of St. Peter Martyr, A Series Of Madonna, Woman With A Mirror And Sacred And Profane Love were finished.


After deaths of Giorgione (1510) and Giovanni Bellini (1516), no rival was left to compete with Titian’s masterpieces for next 60 years. Though, the deaths of the two great artists were very sad for him. But it was the next fatal incident, which affected big on his work.

When Titian’s wife Cecilia died in august, 1530, his works became gloomy and less vibrant. The adventurous and bold use of colors – which he was famous for – were replaced by the shades and dark colors. After Michelangelo’s advice ‘your work lacks attention in details’ made him realizing his mistake and his adventurous use of colors, fortunately, came back almost overnight.

The next more spectacular period of his lifespan was from 1530 to 1550. During the time, he produced the most renowned paintings like Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, Ecce Homo, The Rape of Europa, Battle of Cadore and Speech of Marquis Del Vasto. Unfortunately, Battle of Cadore and Speech of Marquies Del Vasto were burned in the Doge’s palace’s fire. Other great artists like Leonardo and Michelangelo’s few works were also burned in the incident.

During the time, because of the immense fame and reputation, Titian was receiving good amount of fortune from various sources. He was getting the annuity of 200 crowns from the Charles V from the treasury of Milan. He was also getting pensions form D’avalos and Marquis Del Vasto. Other than the income from his art, he also got a contract for supplying grains to Cadore. All this revenues made him considerably wealthy in his later years.

The last twenty six years of his life from 1550 to 1576, he mainly worked for Philip II. In this time, his main productions were the ‘Poesie (poems)’.

More remarkably, he became self-critical and obsessive about his works in this time. He wanted more perfection and for that he would keep his works for ten years in his studio and keep retouching it over and over again. His obsession for perfection became insatiable at the end, which left many unfinished works on his death.

Earlier in 1576, he started to create a pieta for his own tomb, but couldn’t finish due to his death in 1576 by plague raging in Venice in the same year. Then his student Palma il Giovane undertook the task and completed it.

Titian’s politeness and respect towards his art is reflected in the words when he, in his 80s, said:

”I think I am beginning to learn something about painting.”

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