Born in a small
village in the Dolomite range of the Alps near Belluno, Titian removed
to Venice where he worked first with the mosaicist Sebastiano Zuccato,
then in the studio of Gentile and
Giovanni Bellini. Titian was significantly
influenced by Giorgione, whom he assisted
in executing the external fresco decoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi
on the Grand Canal in Venice. Upon Giorgione's death, 1510, Titian completed
several of Giorgione's works-in-progress.
escalated rapidly after he received a commission, 1511, to execute three
frescoes for the Scuola del Santo in Padua. By 1513 he had begun painting
a Battle for the Chamber of the Grand Council [Maggior Consiglio]
in the Doge's Palace in Venice. Upon the death of Giovanni Bellini,
1516, Titian became official painter to the Republic.
Some of Titian's
most acclaimed works of the ensuing ten years were the Assumption
for the Church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (1518) (in which the soaring
movement of the Virgin is said to anticipate the later Baroque period),
three paintings for Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara (the Worship of Venus,
the Bacchanal and Bacchus and Ariadne) (1518-23), an altarpiece
in Ancona (1520), a polyptych in Brescia centered on a Resurrection
of Christ (1520-2), and the altarpiece for the Pesaro family side
altar in the Church of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (1519-26).
work became more heavily weighted toward portraiture. Young Giorgio
Cornaro (H-4) was one of his subjects in a 1538 painting. Among
other prominent subjects were Pope Paul III (1546) and Charles V (1548),
Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The Emperor appointed Titian court
painter and gave him the rank of Count Palatine and Knight of the Golden
In the 1540s Titian's
work became more heavily influenced by the Mannerism of central and
north Italy. He travelled to Rome in 1545-6 for his only visit there.
In 1550 he was in Augsburg to paint portraits of Emperor Charles V's
son, who was to become Phillip II of Spain and an important later patron
of Titian. A detail from his 1567-8 self-portrait, now at the Prado,
Madrid, is shown above.
active until his death in Venice at about age 91. His last work was
a Pieta' (now in the Accademia Museum in Venice) created for
his own tomb and completed after his death by Palma