(Tiziano Vecellio)

(Italian, ca. 1488–1576)


Titian (Tiziano Vecellio)

The date of Titian’s birth in the northern Italian town of Pieve di Cadore is not known and remains a point of scholarly debate. By the first years of the sixteenth century, he was in Venice, likely studying with Giovanni and Gentile Bellini and with Giorgione. Recognized for his abilities, Titian received prestigious commissions from the leading institutions and families of Venice and its dominions, among them, the dukes of Mantua, Ferrara, and Urbino, whom he portrayed on a number of occasions. Contemporary humanists celebrated his art, and he enjoyed the patronage of wealthy and powerful clients across the Italian peninsula and Europe. An acclaimed portraitist, he was principally a painter of religious, mythological, and historical scenes and engaged in printmaking as a means to expand his reputation. Although Titian spent most of his life and career in Venice, he was called to Rome in 1546 on a commission for Pope Paul III and to Germany at the behest of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. From the early 1550s, Charles’s son, King Philip II of Spain, was one of Titian’s foremost patrons. In 1525, Titian married his housekeeper, Cecilia Soldano, with whom he already had two sons. Their daughter, Lavinia, was born in 1530. Titian worked until his death in the great plague of 1576, supported in his later years by his younger son, Orazio, who was also one of his studio assistants. He was buried in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.


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