Titian – One of the greatest High Renaissance Painters


Tiziano Vecellio or Vecelli
(c. 1488/1490, Pieve di Cadore, Venice, Italy – 27 August 1576,  Venice, Italy) (aged 84-86)
Nationality: Italy
Category: Art Workers
Occupation: Architects, Sculptors, Painters
Unique distinction: One of the most versatile of Italian painters, the greatest painter of the Venetian Renaissance school.
Gender: Male

Titian Quotes:
1. The painter must always seek the essence of things, and always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting.
2. A good painter needs only three colours: black, white and red.
3. It is not bright colours but good drawing that makes figures beautiful.
4. Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind.
5. He who improvises can never make a perfect line of poetry.

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: Titian was an Italian painter.
The main contribution to (Best known for): He was one of the greatest painters of the Venetian Renaissance school. His painting methods had a profound influence on future generations of Western art.

Contributions to art:

Titian was an Italian leading painter of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Renaissance and one of the greatest painters of the world.
He is considered one of the most versatile, multifaceted and fruitful Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects.
Titian’s artistic heritage is enormous: it has about 130 paintings, frescoes, drawings, and a series of engravings.
Titian was a master realist and astute businessman, and he was famous and venerated throughout Europe during his lifetime. He had an immense influence on succeeding generations of painters, especially in his use of colour.
Titian style. Titian combined the balance of High Renaissance composition with a new dynamism, which heralded the baroque. The artist was particularly famous for his innovations in the handling of colour. His mature artistic style includes bold and free application of colour, preference and use of vivid and simple colours, and expressive and highly charged brushwork.
Titian was always interested in mythological themes, and his many depictions of Venus display his work’s sheer beauty and inherent eroticism.
He created images, full of the heightened sense of life’s beauty and timid sensibility (“Danae”, ca. 1554, “Venus and Adonis”, 1554).
He reached the height of his powers in The Rape of Europa (c. 1559 – 62), one of several paintings done for Philip II of Spain.
In his later works, he stressed the tragic dignity and fortitude of heroes.
He serves as an excellent role model for many painters. His influence was felt more strongly in the 20th century. than that of any other Renaissance artist.
Recognized by his contemporaries as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars” (recalling the famous final line of Dante’s Paradiso). Titian was recognized as supremely gifted in his lifetime. Also, he was extremely financially successful during his life.
Most parts of Titian’s great legacy were squandered by his unlucky son Pomponio in a few years.
Major works: the Assumption (1516–18) for Santa Maria dei Frari, Portrait of Man (1510), Sacred and Profane Love (1514), Flora (1515), Worship of Venus (1519), Bacchus and Ariadne (1523), Venus of Urbino (1538), Ecce Homo (1543), Danae (1554), Death of Actaeon (1554), The Rape of Europa (1562).

Career and personal life:

Origin: He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto), in the Republic of Venice. He was called “Da Cadore”, from the place of his birth.
He was the eldest of a family of four and the son of Gregorio Vecelli, a distinguished councillor and soldier, and of his wife Lucia.
Education: Titian studied painting in the shop of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione.
Influenced by: Gentile, Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione

Career highlights: 

Titian studied painting in the shop of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini. He also worked with Giorgione in 1508 on frescoes for the facade of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. In 1511 he executed frescoes of the miracles of St. Anthony for the Scuola del Santo, Padua. His reputation was established with the monumental The Assumption of the Virgin (1516–18).
After the deaths of Giorgione and Giovanni Bellini, Titian was established as the finest painter in Venice.
From 1516 he was the acknowledged head of the Venetian school.
Titian’s work may be conditionally divided into three phases.
During the period from 1516 to 1530, which may be called the period of his mastery and maturity, the artist moved on from his early Giorgionesque style, undertook larger and more complex subjects and for the first time attempted a monumental style.
Among his most important religious paintings is the monumental, huge, seven meters altar “Assunta” Assumption of the Virgin (1516 – 18) for Santa Maria dei Frari, Venice
His finest mythological paintings include Bacchanal (1518-1519) and the earthy Bacchus and Ariadne (1522–23).
During the second period (1530–1550), Titian developed the style introduced by his dramatic Death of St. Peter Martyr. Philip II executed a large number of religious works intended for the Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial.
His Crowning with Thorns (c.1542; Louvre) and Ecce Homo (1543; Vienna) are fraught with tragic emotion and tense drama.
During the last twenty-five years of his life (1550–1576) the artist worked mainly for Philip II and as a portrait painter. His compositions and psychologically penetrating portraits increasingly emphasize dramatic effect, ruthless honesty and intensive emotional expression.
Titian’s students included El Greco, Tintoretto, Paris Bordone, Parrasio Micheli, Damiano Mazza and Polidoro Lanzani.
His last work was the astonishingly powerful Pietà, which he designed for his own tomb.

Personal life: 

Titian was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno (in Veneto), in the Republic of Venice. He was commonly called during his lifetime “Da Cadore”, from the place of his birth, and has also been designated “Il Divino.”
In 1525 he married Cecilia, who already had two children. Five years later his wife died, leaving him three children. Titian lived alone until his death.
In 1533, Emperor Charles V appointed Titian as court painter and surrounded him with great respect and honour.
In 1545 Titian went to Rome, where he was quartered in the Belvedere of the Vatican. There he came into contact with Michelangelo and shared his interest in ancient monuments.
Returning to Venice, he was invited in 1548 to Augsburg by Charles V. There he executed many portraits of dignitaries. His work was eagerly sought by the ducal families of Ferrara, Mantua, and Urbino.
Emperor Charles V made him a Count Palatine, еру title of state councillor, and the highest rank of Knight of the Golden Spur, with all the privileges of the sword and the chain.  Philip II of Spain was also an enthusiastic patron.
After 1552, Titian remained in Venice, living in princely splendour and surrounded by friends who included the writer Pietro Aretino and the architect Jacopo Sansovino.
Titian met with Michelangelo in his Roman atelier. After the meeting, Michelangelo called him an artist who “knows how to extract the poetry and charm from everyday life.”
During the rest of his career rulers throughout Europe showered him with commissions and honours. According to Vasari, Titian up to 75 years had not been sick and died of the plague on 27 August 1576.
Remains Buried, Iglesia de Santa María Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice, Italy.
Zest: No one is sure of the exact date of Titian’s birth.  Titian himself, writing to Philip II in 1571, professed to be ninety-five years old. Giorgio Vasari says that Titian was born in 1480;
Other writers propose a date between 1473 to after 1482, but most modern scholars believe in a date nearer 1490, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Research Institute support -c.1488.
Once, Titian dropped a brush, Charles V, raised it and said: “Titian is worthy to be served by Caesar”.