Painter - Titian
A Titian self-portrait from around 1561, which includes a symbol of his knighthood - a golden chain.

Painter - Titian

Tiziano Vecelli, or Titian as he is known as in English, was born sometime between 1488 and 1490 in the Republic of Venice. As a teenager he was apprenticed to Sebastiano Zuccato and went to work with other artists such as Bellini and Giorgione. who both had an influence on his art.

Titian became successful at a young age, and his 1518 altarpiece, Assumption of the Virgin, helped to establish him as a leading artist. His fame spread and Titian gained commissions from such people as the King of Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor, both of whom sat before him for portraits.

Later in his career Titian concentrated more on mythological and religious paintings. He continued to work until his death (possibly caused by the same plague which killed his son shortly after) on the 27th of August 1576 - well into his 9th decade.

Perhaps the leading artist of the late Renaissance, Titian's works have inspired countless followers such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Rubens.

For a closer look at the pictures, please click on them to enlarge.
Titian's 1538 work Venus of Urbino was described by which 19th century writer as "the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses"?
Lord Byron
Mark Twain
Charles Dickens
Edgar Allan Poe
Twain went on to say "it was painted for a bagnio, and it was probably refused because it was a trifle too truth, it is a trifle too strong for any place but a public art gallery".
In the background of the painting two maids can be seen rummaging through a chest in search of Venus's clothes - apparently more concerned for the goddess' modesty than she is herself!
Pietà is thought to be Titian's final work. It is a depiction of Christ after his death on the cross, in which Titian has painted himself as which biblical character?
Joseph of Arimathea
John the Divine
Nicodemus helped to prepare Christ's body for burial. In the painting he can be seen looking into Jesus' face, perhaps representing Titian looking at his own impending passing.
Nicodemus' beard outlined against Jesus' arm is reminiscent of a paintbrush, which is perhaps also intended by the artist
Housed in the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, this 1520 painting shows which Roman goddess emerging from the sea?
Venus Anadyomene (literally Venus Rising from the Sea) shows the goddess of beauty wringing her hair as she emerges from the Mediterranean. The seashell from which Venus was born can be seen in the bottom left corner
In this painting we see a semi-legendary Roman woman vainly attempting to reject the advances of a king's son. What are the two character's names?
Tarquin and Lucretia
Aeneas and Dido
Caesar and Cleopatra
Brutus and Boadicea
Whether it was true or not, the event depicted in the painting is said to have instigated Rome's revolution which replaced its monarchy with a republic. The piece is thought to have been commissioned by Philip II of Spain circa 1570
This 1511 painting, Saint Mark Enthroned, was commissioned by the church of Santo Spirito in Venice, to celebrate the end of what?
A plague outbreak
A six month drought
War with France
A year long famine
Now located in the Santa Maria della Salute in the same city, the painting shows Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice, surrounded by four saints invoked for protection from the plague: Roch, Sebastian, Cosmas and Damian
Painted in the late 1560s and with a theme of the passage of time, what is the name of this piece?
Allegory of Prudence
Ages of Man
Past, Present, Future
Cradle to Grave
The meaning of the painting can be discerned from the inscription it bears: "From the experience of the past, the present acts prudently, lest it spoil future actions". This has been interpreted by some as meaning that Titian regrets his youthful lack of Prudence.
The three men pictured are thought to be Titian himself, his son Orazio, and his cousin, Marco Vecellio. Each one represents a different stage of life - old age, the prime of manhood, and youth
This is a portrait of which future Spanish king who would in years to come marry one English queen and send an armada to attack another?
Philip I
Ferdinand VI
Philip II
Ferdinand VII
Philip was briefly the King of England after his marriage to Mary I in 1554, and he sent his powerful armada to invade England during the reign of Mary's sister Elizabeth I in 1588.
This picture, Philip II in Armour, was painted in 1551 when he and Titian were both in the German city of Augsberg
This semi-nude painting of 1533 shows which repentant biblical woman?
Mary Magdalene
Penitent Magdalene was commissioned by the Duke of Urbino. Mary's nudity is accounted for by the medieval legend which states that she spent her last years naked and alone in a French hermitage
Salome was painted by Titian circa 1515. It shows the biblical character holding the head of who?
John the Baptist
James the Just
Salome had asked Herod for John's head and he duly obliged.
The woman in the painting can be seen in several of Titian's works including, Vanity, Flora, and Woman at the Mirror
Painted around 1546, this is a picture of Pope Paul III and which other two men?
The Prime Minister and the King of Venice
His nephews
His chief cardinals
His grandsons
By all accounts Pope Paul III was not a religious man. He rose to his position through his links with the Medici family, made his grandson Alessandro (who was later murdered) a cardinal, fathered several illegitimate children, and spent huge sums of the church's money on art and antiques.
Aware of the dangerous political environment and the sensitivity of his subject, Titian abandoned this piece before it was finished


Author:  Graeme Haw

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