No one knows exactly when the Italian artist, Tiziano Vecellio, was born. Over the centuries, there has been a great deal of confusion concerning the date, due to a misprint in his biography by sixteenth century art historian, Girgio Vasari. Vasari recorded the date as 1480, but the progress of Tiziano Vecellios work, as well as other documented sources, announce his date of birth to be sometime between 1488 and 1490. (Magill 2310) The place of his birth was Pieve de Cadore, in the Alps north of Venice. Tiziano Vecellio, also known as Titian, was a great master of religious art, a portraitist, and the creator of mythological compositions, which have been so decorative and inventive that no other artist has yet surpassed them. People such as his wife, Cecilia, Giovanni Bellini, and the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, influenced Titian. (Magill 2311) Titian is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the Italian High Renaissance. Titian developed an oil-painting technique during his time as an artist of successive glazes and broad paint application that influenced many generations of artists to follow along with his other various important accomplishments.
Titian had many accomplishments in his lifetime. In 1518, Titians Assumption of the Virgin was shown at the Church of the Frari in Venice. It was in this composition that Titian seemed suddenly to absorb the achievements of the Roman High Renaissance style. At the time, it was learned that Titan had not traveled much, and therefore assumed that he squired this knowledge of art by visiting artists, studying their drawings and reproductive engravings. During the decades following his appearance in the art life, Titians reproductions placed him along with Michelangelo, as the most powerful artist in Europe. He was recognized for his mythical paintings, three of which he created for Alfonso I dEste of Ferrara, called The Bacchanal of the Andrians, The Worship of Venus, and Baahus and Ariadne. Among his many patrons, the most important were the Spanish Habsburgs. Titians fame, wealth, and social position resulted from his patrons and admirers. His major artistic inhibitions included being especially creative with diagonal placing and perspectives, as well as setting up unusual spectator viewpoints. Among his most famous works, rests the picture known as The Gypsy Madonna. This picture is a variation of the half-length Madonna and Child popular with Giovanni Bellini. Although, Titian moves all the major forms off center and encouraged the viewer to look diagonally into a landscape to the left of the Madonna. Over the years, Titian continued to develop his individual style. He used color and light to define his forms instead of lines. (Magill 2310)
A turning point for Titian was when he returned home from Rome in June of 1546. He had the opportunity to see first hand the places that Michalangleo and Raphael had seen and created their artwork from. (Encyclopedia of World Biography 242-243) He therefore produced his own masterpieces during his stay in Rome. Paul III and His Grandsons was a presentation of a dramatic encounter between the aged pope and his conniving grandsons. This work is one of the most psychologically showing works of the time. (Encyclopedia of World Biography 242-243) When Titian arrived back in Venice, he created the Christ Crowned with Thorns, which was an interpretation of an encounter he had in Rome. He created various masterpieces throughout his experiences, which are still widely known today.
Titian set out with his elder brother, Francesco, at the age of nine to study in the workshop of Sebastiano Zuccati, and then soon began to study painting with Givanni Bellini. It is with Giovanni that Titian learned his current Venetian style and techniques. Titian met a painter by the name of Giorgione. Titian began to work for Giorgione for the German Commercial Headquarters in Venice. This man was significant in Titians life because of the great influence he placed on Titians style of work. The similarities between the two artists is so nominal that scholars have had trouble telling their work apart on unsigned paintings. Among others who influenced Titians career, are the Spanish Habsburgs, as mentioned previously. He had close relationships with Charles V, Francis I, Alfonso and Isabella d’Este, the Houses of Ferrara and Urbino, which made him the first of the princely painters of the Renaissance and the one whose position was most international and well known over all others. Charles V was by far one of his greatest admirers. Charles V made Titian a count and had him brought to Augsburg two times as court painter. Charles son, Philip II continued the bond with Titian after his fathers death in 1558. The fact that these people brought Titian fame and wealth is not even the least of it, but they brought him a great social position as well. (Encyclopedia of World Biography 242-243)
One woman, Cecilia, began a relationship with Titian in the early 1520s, with whom he had two children with before they married, and two after they married in 1525. Unfortunately, Cecilia passed away in 1530, just five years after they were wed. (Magill 2311)
The work of Titian holds great influence on the world of art, even today. During the latter years of his life, Titian strove inexhaustibly to try to capture feelings that were ever-changing. Every time he would create a new impression, he would see another element of beauty to either add or alter in the piece of work. The air of distress and sadness that rested on Titian with these efforts are shown in the succeeding works of his lifetime. It is thought that this aura of sorrow is capable of moving a person so much that a sadness like this is only found in Rembrandt’s last portraits, and no other accomplished artists. Titians work is significant for this effect of inspiring and stirring emotion in even the tamest heart. (Encyclopedia of World Biography 242-243)
Titians style of art, and his masterful techniques with religious art, mythical compositions, and successive glazes have never been surpassed. They influence generations of artists to come, and will continue to do so as long as his work is studied. His place in the Italian High Renaissance will never be overlooked.
Titians health, inherited from his mountain race, along with his tendencies toward order, balance, and determination, defined the dominant characteristics of the art that he created. He is credited for his being capable of expressing beauty which springs from the deepest happiness of life, and granted his art with that sort of expression. His art was important and has influenced artists after him. He is considered to be a magnificent creator of beauty, which is a well-suited consideration.