Artist
Titian
Italian painter

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Titian
Italian painter
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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Birth Date

1487

Death Date

September 06, 1576

Arty Fact

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

Titian is the top gun Venetian Renaissance painter famous for colorful nude women on their backs.

Titian was one of the first painters with an international clientele. He moved across Europe for whoever wanted him to sling paintbrushes for ducats. The rich and royal loved his portraits. This is in no small part due to Titian's habit of making his portraits huuuuuuuge. He ping-ponged between work for Pope Paul III, Philip II of Spain, Francis I of France, and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The Pope and Charles V were basically in a bidding war for Titian's services. One offered a knighthood. The other promised Titian's son would become a high-ranking ecclesiastical minister. Normal workplace dilemmas.

But relations with the Holy See soured. After numerous portraits for the Papacy, Titian was tasked to paint a simple portrait of the Pope with his two grandsons. A regular Hallmark moment. Only thing is, things got too real. The Pope looks decrepit. One of his grandsons looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame on a diet. The other looks like he hates the Pope. Titian was basically chased out of Rome and screwed over on payment for the overly honest painting.

Titian's Venice was so chock-full of horny folk that the town's name was shorthand around the continent for brothels. As such, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that several of Titian's models were high-end escorts. His Venus of Urbino was based on Angela del Moro, the second highest-earning courtesan in Venice. Apparently, her secret move was never, ever, ever faking an orgasm. The mistress to Cardinal Farnese, the Pope's grandson, served as Titian's model for a painting of Danae getting jiggy with Zeus as a gold coin spewing cloud. Michelangelo visited Titian's studio in Rome specifically to see the Danae painting, leaving with the impression that the Venetian master couldn't draw.

There's two stories on Titian's domestic life. In one, he hired a maid named Cecilia. They had two children before marrying, and then had two more before she passed away. Titian loved Cecilia so much that he never remarried. The other story plays out...differently. Titian had four kids by possibly four women, pretty much all of whom he married, and pretty much all of whom started out as models for his paintings. He all but required his models to sit on his lap and show him why they deserved to have him paint them. We'll leave it as a choose your own adventure. Either way, he dies of plague on the last page.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Titian

Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio (pronounced [titˈtsjaːno veˈtʃɛlljo]; c. 1488/90 – 27 August 1576), known in English as Titian (/ˈtɪʃən/ TISH-ən), was an Italian painter during the Renaissance, considered the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near Belluno, (then in the Republic of Venice). During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, 'from Cadore', taken from his native region.

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (recalling the final line of Dante's Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of colour, exercised a profound influence not only on painters of the late Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

His career was successful from the start, and he became sought after by patrons, initially from Venice and its possessions, then joined by the north Italian princes, and finally the Habsburgs and papacy. Along with Giorgione, he is considered a founder of the Venetian School of Italian Renaissance painting.

During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically, but he retained a lifelong interest in colour. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone were without precedent in the history of Western painting.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Titian.