Titian Vecellio – the greatest Venetian genius of the Renaissance

Last Supper.
Last Supper.

Tiziano Vecellio (Tiziano Vecellio; born 1488/1490 – died August 27, 1576) – the great Italian artist of the 16th century, an internationally recognized genius and author of paintings of religious, mythological and portrait genres. Titian Vecellio is the most famous representative of the Venetian school of painting in its entire 400-year history. During his lifetime, the master gained great fame and left an extensive artistic heritage to his descendants.

Madonna and Child in glory with Saints Catherine, Nicholas, Peter, Sebastian, Francis and Anthony of Padua.
Madonna and Child in glory with Saints Catherine, Nicholas, Peter, Sebastian, Francis and Anthony of Padua.

Biography of Titian Vecellio

Titian Vecellio was born at the end of the 15th century in the family of a government official in the town of Pieve di Cadore near Venice. Unfortunately, the exact date of birth of the great master is unknown, but according to most researchers of the artist’s life, this happened in 1488 or 1490.

Titian Vecellio showed an early interest in art. In 1500, the boy left his native town forever and moved to Venice to start learning to draw. Over the next decade, he managed to work in the studios of prominent local artists: Sebastiano Zuccato (Sebastiano Zuccato); Gentile Bellini; Giovanni Bellini.

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the temple.
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the temple.

During his studies, Titian met many young artists. He was especially close to Giorgione after working together on the painting of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi Palace. Unfortunately, only small fragments of these examples of the early work of the great master have survived to this day.

After the premature death of Giorgione from the plague in 1510, Titian completed several unfinished paintings for a friend. Gradually, the young painter begins to develop his own artistic style and gains fame.

Baptism of Christ.
Baptism of Christ.

Among the many early works, the following masterpieces of genius stand out:

  • “Gypsy Madonna” (1512);
  • “Woman in front of a mirror” (1515);
  • “Caesar’s denarius” (1516); “Flora” (1517).

In 1517, after the death of Giovanni Bellini, Titian deservedly receives the title of the first artist of the Venetian Republic. The paintings of the painter impress the audience with amazing contrasts and life-like artistic images. In 1525, Titian entered into an official marriage with Cecilia Soldano, but after 5 years his wife died during childbirth, leaving four children in the hands of the artist.

Saint Jerome.
Saint Jerome.

In the 1530s, Titian’s creativity flourished, which would last about 25-30 years. It was during this period that the most famous portraits, emotional paintings on mythological and religious themes came out from under the brush of the master. Among them: “Danae” (1546); “Venus and Adonis” (1554); “The Abduction of Europe” (1562).

Jesus Christ and the prudent thief.
Jesus Christ and the prudent thief.

The great master continues to create until his death. In the works of the later period, the tragic depth of the composition is clearly present. This is most clearly seen in the paintings: “Coronation with Thorns” and “Pieta” (both – 1576).

Titian died in his own workshop on August 27, 1576. According to the most conservative estimates, the great genius at that time was already 86 years old.

Lady in a blue dress.
Lady in a blue dress.
portrait of Roksolana.
portrait of Roksolana.
Giovanni Francesco Acquaviva, Duke of Atri.
Giovanni Francesco Acquaviva, Duke of Atri.
The Last Supper (Titian and the workshop).
The Last Supper (Titian and the workshop).
Isabella d'Este.
Isabella d’Este.
Adoration of the Magi.
Adoration of the Magi.
Saint Christopher.
Saint Christopher.
Dinner at Emmaus.
Dinner at Emmaus.
Tobiah and the angel.
Tobiah and the angel.
Titian Vecellio Doge Antonio Grimani.
Doge Antonio Grimani.
Titian Vecellio Marcia's punishment.
Marcia’s punishment.
Titian Vecellio Eleonora Gonzaga della Rovere.
Eleonora Gonzaga della Rovere.
Titian Vecellio Lamentation of Christ (finished by Palma the Younger (Jacopo Negretti)).
Lamentation of Christ (finished by Palma the Younger (Jacopo Negretti)).
Titian Vecellio Sacrifice of Isaac.
Sacrifice of Isaac.
Titian Vecellio Orpheus and Eurydice.
Orpheus and Eurydice.
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