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Tiziano Vecellio: Titian Essay

1649 words - 7 pages

Tiziano Vecellio, known as Titian, was an Italian 16th century Venetian painter. Biographies were written when Titian was alive; however his birthday is still unknown. One account was written by a close friend of his, Lodovico Dolce who says in his book, “Dialogue on Painting” that Titian was about twenty years old in 1507 when he was working on his painting “Fondaco dei Tedeschi.” However, in a letter Titian wrote to the king of Spain in 1571 he claims to be ninety-five years old, putting his birth year in 1477. If this was true, Titian would have been around one-hundred years old at the time of his death. Based off of the chronology of his works, it is more likely that Titian was born around 1490 and died in 1576. When Titian was about ten years old, he and his brother went to Venice to live with their uncle and to start an apprenticeship with a painter. At this time two of the leading artists were Giovanni Bellini and Gentile Bellini. Sebastian Zuccato, a family friend and painter arranged for the two to work with these two painters. While working with the Bellini’s, Titian was introduced to Giorgio da Castelfranco, later known as Giorgione. Titian and Giorgione collaborated on many works and he was a major influence on Titian’s tonal approach to painting as well as his landscape style. The two artists worked in such a similar manner that the line between them has been hard to distinguish. It is hardest to tell the two apart in their pastoral landscapes in which the beauty of nature is celebrated alongside love and music. With Giorgione dying in 1510 and Giovanni Bellini dying in 1516 Titian no longer faced any rivals in the Venetian School. It was at this time that Titian moved on from his early Giorgionesque style and to more complex subjects and when he first attempted a monumental style.
For the last twenty-five years of Titian’s life he worked mainly for Philip II and as a portrait-painter he became more self-critical. He continued to accept commissions to the end of his life. He was buried in the chapel of the Crucifix in the church of the Fran. On August 27, 1576 Titian died from the plague raging in Venice. He was approximately 90 years old. He was the only victim of the Venice plague to be given a church burial. He lies near his own famous painting, the Madonna di Ca' Pesaro. No memorial marked his grave until much later when the Austrian rulers of Venice commissioned Canova to provide the large monument. Immediately after Titian's own death, his son and pictorial assistant, Orazio, died of the same epidemic.
Venus and the Lute Player is an oil on canvas painting from 1565. It took five years to complete and is sixty-five by eighty-two and a half inches. Titian and his workshop treated the theme of Venus and a musician at various times during the latter part of his career. He may have worked on this version sporadically over an extended period leaving it unfinished at the time of his death. The...

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