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Titian (Italian, 1483-1576)


Also known as:  Tetiano; Thitsiaen; Ticiano; Tiçiano; Tishan; Tishian; Tisiano; Tissien; Titiaan; Titiaen; Titian Vecelli; Titiano; Titiano da Cadore; Titien; Tizian; Tiziano; Tiziano Vecelli Cavaliere; Tiziano Vecellio; Tiziano Vecellio da Cadore stato Veneto; Tiziano Vecellio di Cadore; Veccellio, Tiziano; Vecelio, Ticiano; Vecellio, Tiziano; Vicelli, Tiziano; Tiziano Vecelli

Birth Place: Pieve di Cadore (Belluno province, Veneto, Italy)

Tiziano Vecelli was one of the most recognized painters of the 16th century and known throughout history as Titian. It is estimated that he was born between 1488 and 1490 in Pieve di cadore near Venice. He was noted for his impressive ability to be versatile when it came to painting. He could do everything from mythological and religious subjects to landscapes and portraits with equal skill. He developed a method for painting and application of color that influenced a number of Italian Renaissance painters and many other generations’ painters.

Around the age of eleven Titian's family sent him and his brother to find a painting apprenticeship. They both were apprenticed to the studio of Gentile Bellini, who was one of the leading artist in Venice. One of Titian's first works is said to have been a fresco of Hercules on the Morosini Palace. In 1511, Titian painted a fresco at Padua in the Carmelite church and also in the Scuola del Santo. Each one demonstrates his skill with frescoes and both have been preserved. Titian obtained a broker's patent in 1513, and he was paid to complete the unfinished paintings of Giovanni Bellini.

Titian became the top painter of the Venetian School in 1516. He would hold this position for six decades. He created exceptional pieces with color on a grand scale during 1518. His painting the Assumption of the Virgin was a huge sensation in Italy. His other painting called Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice is noted for its style and creativeness. It is recognized as Titian’s most studied work. He was considered to be at the top of his fame during 1521. The painting of The Death of St. Peter Martyr in 1530 is considered one of his finest works; however, it was destroyed in 1867 by an Austrian shell. Only copies and engravings of it remain.

During the last two decades of his life, Titian worked for Philip II, who was king of Spain. Titian only did portrait paintings, and this was a time when Titian was unable to recapture his earlier success. He continued to take commissions until his death in 1576. His use of flesh tints was noted in such works as Dan of Naples, the Antiope of the Louvre and others. The portraits he painted of Phillip II as well of his daughter and himself are considered some of his greatest masterpieces. Titian passed away at the age of 90 from a plague that was infecting Venice. He was the only person given a church burial who died from the plague.

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