Titian, or Tiziano Vecelli was one of the greatest painters of 16th –century Venice. Born in c. 1488/1490 in Pieve di Cadore, in the Republic of Venice, he was the most important member of the 16th century Venetian school.  Arguably Titian was one of the most versatile Italian painters, equally proficient in portraits, landscapes, and religious subjects.

Titian’s father Gregorio Vecelli was the superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore, and managed local mines for their owners. His family was well established in the area, which was ruled by Venice at the time. At the age of around 10, Titian and his brother Francesco were sent to an uncle in Venice to find an apprenticeship with a painter.  At the time Venice was one of the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan cities of the world. With the help of family friend Sebastian Zuccato, he arranged for the Titian brothers to enter the studio of Gentile Bellin, which they later transferred to that of his brother, Giovanni Bellini. During the time the Bellinis were the leading artists of the city, and it was there that Titian found a group of companions around his age to study art.

When Giorgione died in 1510, Titian continued to paint Giorgionesque subjects for a while, though his style developed its own style; including bold and expressive brushwork.  However it was through contact and training with Giorgione, who he met in Giovanni Bellini’s workshop, that he mainly developed his early style. Titian collaborated with Giorgione and he was influential for his tonal approach to painting and for his atmospheric and evocative landscape work (Met Museum).

His success in Venice was sealed by the completion of the altarpiece for the high alter of the Franciscan church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.  His work created a revolutionarily changing point in Venetian altarpiece painting up until the 18th century.

Assumption of the Virgin Oil on Panel 1516-1518  Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

Assumption of the Virgin
Oil on Panel
1516-1518
Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

Jacopo Strada (Venice)    1566 125cm by 90 cm Kunsthistorisches Museum di Vienna, Vienna

Jacopo Strada (Venice)
1566
125cm by 90 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum di Vienna, Vienna

Allegory of Prudence (Venice) Oil on canvas 1565-1570 30 inches b y 27 inches National Gallery, London

Allegory of Prudence (Venice)
Oil on canvas
1565-1570
30 inches b y 27 inches
National Gallery, London

Of the three artworks that I choose, Allegory of Prudence stuck out to me as the most captivating and interesting. The work seems to be about 3 main figures, with the person in the front center being the boldest in color and his facial expression is determined and strong. The figure on the left is Titian himself, who appears to be faded and somewhat part of the background. He is depicted as old and fragile, and almost insignificant In this painting, Titian visually depicts his concern with legacy (Benford, Susan).  Titian’s son, Orazion is depicted in the center of the painting and in the prime of his life. Titian’s nephew Marco is depicted on the right, and his features are youthful and bright as well.

The allegory of this painting can arguably be that Titian is recognizing that the days of him being a great painter has passed, and that it is his son’s time to carry on his legacy. The animals depicted in this painting are a wolf, a lion and a dog, which reasonably corresponds to each individual above it. The lion representing the strongest of the three, and the dog being ambitious but the weakest one, and the wolf being in between.

The colors used in this painting are bold, characteristic of Titian’s works. One can also distinguish Titian’s signature strong and visible brushwork (Benford, Susan). The depiction of the animals in this painting is also signature of Titian’s love for mythological creatures in his work.  The three-headed creature comes from various different historical backgrounds with one stemming from the Egyptian Serapis’ companion (Dr. J).

Renaissance; or re-birth, spanned from 14th century to the 17th century beginning in Italy. The development of more uniform perspective, and other techniques that rendered a more natural reality in painting was introduced in renaissance art. Allegory of Prudence captures amazing realistic-ness in both the humans and the animals. In addition, the use of contrasting colors in this painting was very innovative for its time, and considered new and unique compared to past artists from Italy.

Works Cited:
1) BBC Science and Nature, Leonardo da Vinci Retrieved May 12, 2007

2) Benford, Susan. “Famous Paintings Reviewed.” Famous Paintings: Titian Paintings.

Masterpiece Cards, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2013.

<http://www.themasterpiececards.com/famous-paintings-

reviewed/bid/17756/Famous-Paintings-Titian-Paintings>.

3) J. “Miglior Acque.” : Titian, Allegory of Prudence. N.p., 20 May 2005. Web. 16 Aug.

2013. <http://miglior-acque.blogspot.com/2005/05/titian-allegory-of-

prudence.html>.

4) “Titian.” The National Gallery, London: Western European Painting 1250–1900. The

National Gallery, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2013. <http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/titian&gt;.

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