Artbycadams.com presents The Art of Titian
From my beginning of art appreciation I have loved the art of Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian. I studied his art in school. I was not lucky enough to see one of his paintings but in an art history class I did see many in an auditorium on a huge screen. They took my breath away. There is controversy around exactly when Titian was born but it is likely somewhere between 1474 to 1490. I let the scholars work that out!
Titian was a very successful artist right from the start and is known as a founder of the Venetian School of Renaissance painting. His sensual nudes are spectacular and heart stopping. If you get a chance take a moment to view them. As was the pattern of the day Titian apprenticed to the popular artists of the time. Critics of the time found Titian’s art more impressive than the master’s so his popularity rose very quickly. Titian was known as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars."
“The Assumption of the Virgin” was painted between 1516-1518 and has always resided in the same place it was created for; the altar of Santa Maria Cloriosa dei Frari Basilica. It shows us the rising of Mary into Heaven. The Apostles reach up as she rises, and God looks down upon her to receive her. The bold colors and stunning contrasts of colors seem to elevate the luminous style of Titian. The painting is 22 feet high. In his later years Titian was more subtle in his colors and hues but he blasted to the top of his profession with this painting. Titian controls our eye with the vivid colors. To me the red tells the story without question. I would love to spend the day with this painting just looking at it, answering questions about how this piece of art can captivate the world for 500 years!
This Equestrian Portrait of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor was painted in 1548. It depicts Charles V following his victory in 1547 at the Battle of Muhlberg against the Protestant armies. We see Charles V astride his horse waiting to explode forward when the power contained at the horse’s rear is released. The sense of forward motion is accentuated by the spear and the suggestion Charles and his horse have just entered the landscape from the trees. Some consider this skyscape as Titian’s best. He sets a victorious mood with “flaming and shadowed, with gold light fighting with the blue, deathly clouds set against a landscape which suggests the immensities of space that Charles dominates and the brooding inner landscape of the soul”. The truth is Charles was frail and was carried into the landscape on a litter. But he is depicted here as a hero. We see a forceful and dynamic leader in this painting and a forever hero.
“Ste. Margaret and the Dragon” was painted around 1559 and resides in the Prado Museum in Madrid. It is oil on canvas. We see the best of Titian in his masterful rendering of the atmospheric conditions in this piece. The City of Venice is on fire in the background. St. Marks glows in fiery pinks and oranges while the sea comes alive with dark movement. There are 2 versions of this work. Art historians believe they were completed side by side. One of the pieces belonged to King Charles I and hung in his personal apartment at Whitehall Palace, where he kept his most precious pieces. It is a depiction of Saint Margaret emerging from the body of Satan who had eaten her whole. St. Margaret carries a cross and it did not agree with Satan. King Charles I collected art from all over Europe. The work owned by King Charles I sold at an auction at Sotheby’s. Ste Margaret and the Dragon inspired me to paint Woman in a Green Dress.
“Annunciation” is an oil on canvas painted in 1535. It was originally hung over one of the arches in the main staircase at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco Venice. The angel on the left has her hand raised as in a gesture of annunciation. The Virgin on the right seems almost resigned to the will of God. We see the juxtaposition of the apparition along with every day articles and animals. There is an open basket at the Virgin’s feet along with a quail a robe over the railing. We get a sense of wonder and we feel the presence of God in the room.
In 1576 Titian passed away. He produced “Pieta” in 1576 and it was his last painting. At that time the plague raged in Venice. Because of the mystery of his birthdate we don’t know his age at the time of his death. His son passed of the plague soon after. Titian did not have a marker for his grave but a monument was commissioned based on this painting. In this painting we see a dramatic and nocturnal scene of suffering. Titian accepted commissions right up to his death. It is said this one was traded for a grave, a heartbreaking transaction indeed.
In 1510 Titian was appointed as the official painter for the Republic of Venice. This was a crucial step in his artistic career as he received an annual payment and he enjoyed many tax benefits. He was the wealthiest artist at the time. All art he produced was immediately popular. Titian is known around the world. I love his nudes. They are spectacular. If you want to see Titian’s I recommend you see the Danee series. Wikipedia has all three at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana%C3%AB_(Titian_series). While you are in Wikipedia behold Venue of Urbino at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Urbino. She is fantastique!
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See you next time!