Tiziano Vecelli "Titian"

Tiziano Vecelli "Titian"

Tiziano Vecellio, better known as "Titian"
c.1488 - 1576

Place of Birth: Pieve di Cadore, Belluno
Where Titian Worked: Venice, Padua
Type of Art: Oil painting, Fresco
Most Famous Artworks: Venus of Urbino, Sacred and Profane Love, Bacchus and Ariadne, Man With a Glove, Man with a Blue Sleeve (Ariosto), La Bella, The Rape of Europa, The Assumption of the Virgin

Biography of Titian

Page Symbol for Artist pagesTitian's exact date of birth is unknown, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art's opinion that his year of birth is c.1488 is widely accepted. He was born Tiziano Vecellio to parents Gregorio and Lucia Vecellio. His place of birth was Pieve di Cadore, just north of Venice.

When Titian was nine, he and his brother Francesco were sent to Venice in the care of their uncle. He arranged for the boys to apprentice with the mosaicist Sabastiano Zuccati. It was through Zuccati that Titian made his way to the workshop of the master painter Giovanni Bellini. Here he forged a great friendship with fellow pupil 'Giorgione' Barbarelli, and both students studied and worked very closely...so much so that their styles were very similar and, many feel, indistinguishable. The most prominent example of their interwoven styles is the pastoral Concert Champetre (see below), which has been attributed at various times to one or the other of them. Both Bellini and Giorgione were to have a great influence on Titian. However, due to his longevity, Titian's style would vary throughout his lifetime. Giorgione died in 1510, but Titian continued to paint using 'Giorgionesque' style and subject matter for some time. Eventually Titian's own style matured and distinguished itself, and he became known for his boldness and expressive brushwork.

Titian worked with Giorgione on earlier works, but his first recorded independent works were a group of frescoes in the Confraternity of St. Anthony in Padua. Besides painting portraits and religious scenes, he began to paint images from mythology, for which he became quite famous. He did three such pieces for Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara.

Despite his flourishing career, Titian was not without a personal life. Around 1520 he began a relationship with a young woman from Cadore. Her name was Cecilia and together they had a son, Pomponio, in 1524. They married in 1525 and had another son, Orazio, who by all accounts was Titian's favorite. They also had two daughters, but only one--Lavinia--would survive. Cecilia died in 1530 and Titian was brokenhearted at her passing....he never remarried.

Titian worked for most of his career in Venice. After he gained fame as an artist, he rented a palace there--the Casa Grande--and he lived there throughout the remainder of his life. Although deeply rooted in Venice, Titian did travel for his career, albeit rarely. In 1511 he first journeyed to Padua where he did three frescoes of the Life of St. Anthony of Padua. In 1530 Titian travelled to Bologna to attend the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. Titian painted a portrait of the Emperor in his armor. In appreciation, Charles V made Titian a Knight of the Golden Spur and Count Palatine. In 1545 he travelled to Rome at the invitation of Pope Paul III. There he painted two pieces for the Pope, one of which was Paul III and His Grandsons. In 1548 he was again summoned by Charles V, this time to Augsburg in Germany, where he did more portraits for the Emperor and his court. All of these paintings required a return to Augsburg in 1550.

Throughout his career, Titian did many portraits and he gained much fame from his interpretations of classical mythology. He used beautiful landscapes in his paintings and he was famed for his brushwork and use of color.

In 1576, Titian died in his palace in Venice. He was interred in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Artwork of Titian
(To see a larger version of the following pieces, just click on the picture)

Titian's "Pope Alexander VI Presenting Jacopo Pesaro to Saint Peter"

Pope Alexander VI (protagonist of The Borgias!) Presenting Jacopo Pesaro to Saint Peter

Painted 1502 - 1512
Resides in the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium.

Titian's "Concert Champetre"

Concert Champetre

Painted c. 1510 - 1511
Resides in the Louvre, Paris.

Titian's "Assumption of the Virgin"

Assumption of the Virgin

Painted in 1516 - 1518
Located in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice.

Titian's "Pesaro Altarpiece"

Pesaro Altarpiece

Painted in 1519 - 1526
Located in the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice.

Titian's "Entombment of Christ"

Entombment of Christ

Painted c. 1523 - 1526
Located in the Louvre, Paris.

Titian's St. John the Evangelist on Patmos"

St. John the Evangelist on Patmos

Painted 1544
Located in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Madonna Paintings

Venus Paintings

Over the course of Titian's life, he painted many portraits. There are over 40 of them in this slideshow. If you would like to see a larger version of one of them, click on this link and choose the one you wish to see.

Titian's "The Birth of Adonis"

The Birth of Adonis

This was painted between 1505 - 1510. It is located in the Museo Civico, Padua, Italy.

Titian's The Legend of Polydorus"

The Legend of Polydorus

This was painted between 1505 - 1510. It is also located in the Museo Civico, Padua, Italy.

Titian's Sacred and Profane Love"

Sacred and Profane Love

Painted in 1514. It was commissioned by Niccolo Aurelio in celebration of his marriage to Laura Bagarotto.

It is located in the Borghese Gallery, Rome.

Titian's "Pardo Venus (Jupiter and Antiope)"

Pardo Venus (Jupiter and Antiope)

Painted in 1535 - 1540. Located in the Louvre, Paris.

Titian's "The Supper at Emmaus"

The Supper at Emmaus

Painted c.1535
Located in the Louvre, Paris.

Allegorical Paintings

video by gilcarosio

Page symbol for Artist pagesWhere Titian's Artwork is Displayed

You can find Titian's artwork in the following museums and churches:

- Prado, Madrid (very large collection of Titian's works)
- Accademia Gallery, Venice
- Santa Maria della Salute church, Venice
- Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice
- Scuola di Sant'Antonio, Padua, Italy
- Civic Museum, Padua, Italy
- Borghese Gallery, Rome
- Palazzo Barberini, Rome
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Pitti Palace, Florence
- National Museum of Capodimonte, Naples
- National Gallery, London
- Wallace Collection, London
- National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
- Louvre, Paris
- Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, France
- Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
- Alte Pinakothek, Munich
- Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
- Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
- National Gallery, Washington DC
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Page symbol for Artist pagesTrivia About Titian:

- Titian's Sacred and Profane Love:

Titian's Sacred and Profane Love"

In 1899, the Rothschilds offered the Museo Galleria Borghese four million lira for the piece. This was more than the value of all the other artwork in the gallery combined. The Gallery refused the offer.

- Titian's Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence

Titian's Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence"

In this piece Titian depicts three stages of life...youth, maturity and old age. In the painting the three figures are thought to be Titian, his son Orazio, and a young cousin, Marco Vecellio. Another interesting fact about this painting is that it is Titian's only piece to contain a motto: From the experience of the past, the present acts prudently, lest it spoil future actions.

- For all of our Tudor fans:

TItian's Portrait of Philip II in Armor"

In 1550, Titian painted this portrait of Philip II of Spain that was sent to England to aid in Philip's pursuit of Queen Mary I's hand in marriage.

- Both Titian's wife, Cecilia, and his only daughter, Lavinia, died in childbirth.

- In 1576 Titian died in a plague epidemic that hit Venice. After his death, Titian's favorite son and assistant, Orazio, died during the same epidemic.

- During his career, there were many family members who became painters as well, or worked closely with Titian. They included:
- Brother - Francesco Vecellio
- Nephew - Marco Vecellio
- Fabrizio de Ettore
- Cesare de Ettore
- Tommaso Vecellio
- Girolamo Dante

- Diana and Actaeon:

Titian's Diana and Actaeon"

This piece was sold from a private collection in 2009 for the astonishing price of $71 million. It was purchased through the combined coffers of London's National Gallery, the National Heritage Fund, the National Galleries of Scotland and public donations. The masterpiece will reside in different museums, for five-year periods.

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