Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Titian (Italy, c. 1485-1576)


Figure 1.--This is a portrait of Ranuccio Farnese (1542) by Titian. The relationship between a rich patron and a chosen artist could be close and intensely personal. The patron was expecting the artist to confer immortality on him and his children, who were also his heirs. Titian's portrait of 11 year old Ranuccio Farnese, grandson of the Farnese pope, Paul III, has been called one of the landmarks of portrait form. You can see the boy has a decided bearing on him and an air wisdom about him which is most probability due to his fine education and being brought up in an aristrocatic household.

Titian (Tiziano Vecelliois) is of course one of the great masters, the greatest painter of the Venetian school. Titian's influence on later artists has been profound: he was supreme in virtualy every aspect of painting and fundamentally changed painting with oils technique with his free and expressive brushwork. He worked on a wide range of subjects, but it his wonderfully expressive portraits that offer important information to HBC. He painted portraits for nearly 60 years provising a wonderful record of 16th century scociety. Nearly 100 portraits are known. They include the most poweful figures of the day. Others indvividuals are unknown.

Childhood

Titian's precise year of birth is unknown with any cerainty. Tititian himself claimed 1477, but he was prone to exagerate his age. Many modern scholars estimate 1485-87 as more likely. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, north of Venice. It was a small mountain village in the Dolomite range of the Alps near Belluno.

Training

Titian's older brother brought him to Venice at the age of ten and placed under the tutalage of the celebrated mosaicist, Sebastian Zuccato. After 4-5 years he entered the studio of the aged painter Giovanni Bellini--the most rnowned artist in Venice. There he worked with a group of young men who make their own mark in the world of art. His most important art training was received there in the studio of the famed master Giovanni Bellini.

Giorgione

While still only a young man, Titian developed a close relationship with Giorgione. He assisted Giogione in 1506-08 with the external fresco decoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Venice. Giorgione died unexpectdly 1510 . Titian had to complete a number of his unfinished paintings. It is not clear which of the two is responsible for several important works.

Early Works

Titian's first great commission was for three frescos in Padua (Scuola del Santo, 1511). His career escalated rapidly after this commission. When he returned to Venice, he was already reognized as one of the Republic's luninaries. Giorgione having died and Sebastiano gone to Romeonly Bellini alone stood between him and supremacy. When Bellini died in 1516, Titian became official painter to the Republic.

Briliant Period

Titian was increasingly moving away from Giorgione's influence and developing his own characteristic style. Perhaps the best example of this is his enigmatic allegory, "Sacred and Profane Love" (Villa Borghese, Rome, c. 1516). This painting inaugurated a brilliant period in Titian's creative career.

Body of Work

Titian produced a wide range of artistic work. Most of his paintings dealt with religious or mythological subjects, or were portraits.

Religious

Titian did a series of great altarpieces beginning with the Assumption (Sta Maria dei Frari, Venice, 1516-18). Secular painting had been long accepted, but Italian painters in the 16th century could not ignore religious work.

Mythology

Titian's finest mythological works from this period are three pictures (1518-23) for Alfonso d'Este -- "the Worship of Venus", "the Bacchanal" (both in the Prado, Madrid), and the "Bacchus and Ariadne" (National Gallery, London).

Portraits

During the Renaissance period there was great social change and artistic ferment. The development of the easel brought many practical benefits, and unlike frescoes, art on canvas could be moved around. Rich patrons could send attractive pictures of their daughters to the fathers of possible marriage partners. The relationship between a rich patron and a chosen artist could be close and intensely personal. The patron was expecting the artist to confer immortality on him and his children, who were also his heirs.

Titian's work greadually focused more and more on portraiture. He became the most revered portratist of the day. He painted portraits for nearly 60 years provising a wonderful record of 16th century scociety. Nearly 100 portraits are known. They include the most poweful figures of the day. He painted the famous equestrian portrait of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V--the most powerful ruler of the day. Others indvividuals are unknown. His portraits are original in conception and vivid with both color and movement. What impresses HBC about Titian's portraits is the artist's ability to depict not only a physical likeness, bur the character of his subject. He also provided a wonnderful record of clothes, jewels, armor as well as a clear indication of social rank, cultural or political standing.

Historical Significance

One of the most interesting aspects of Titian career is the historical records left by nearly 60 years of portrait paintings. About 100 portraits are known, there almost certainly were more. These portraits in the years before photography represent an invaluable historical record. Vasari reports, "there was almost no famous lord, nor prince, nor great woman, who was not painted by Titian." Some of the portraits are major historical documents. The Capodimonte triple portrait of Pope Paul III Farnese with his nephews Alessandro and Ottavio give a view of the personality of that Pope and the politics of the Holy See in the mid-1540s to add to available documents and contemporary accounts. Emperor Charles V in 1548 emperor summoned Titian to Augsburg. The magnificent equestrian portrait of Emperor Charles V in his armor, alone on the Battlefield of Muhlberg, is a compeling image of absolute monarchy and the the Catholic court of the Hapsburgs. There was also a more intimate portrait. The Emperor was clearly pleased an appointed Titian court painter with the rank of Count Palatine and Knight of the Golden Spur. He painted another important monarch, France's Francis I whose portrait he did without having ever seen him in real life.

Children's Portraits

When Titian was appointed official painter at the court of Emperor Charles V in Augsburg, people flocked to Venice to commision him to paint their families. Titian was also painting children of high ranking people.

One of Titian's most masterful portraits is that of Ranuccio Farnese (1542). This portrait of the 11 year old grandson of the Farnese pope, Paul III, has been called one of the landmarks of portrait form. You can see the boy has a decided bearing on him and an air wisdom about him which is most probability due to his fine education and being brought up in an aristrocatic household.

Family

Titian's vwife died in 1530. About this time his painting began to become more serious. Titian' style becomes more restrained and contemplative.

Rome

Titian in the early 1540s noted central and north Italian Mannerism, and in 1545-6 he made his first and only journey to Rome. The trip was not for artistic reasons, but to obtain patronage for his son. Once in Rome he was deeply impressed not only by modern works such as Michelangelo's "Last Judgement", but also by the the ruins of Rome's glorious antiquity. His own paintings during this visit aroused much interest, such as "DanaŽ" (Museo di Capodimonte, Naples) was praised for his use of color. Michelangelo criticised the drawing. Whilke in Rome he painted one of his most clebrated portraits, "Pope Paul III and his Nephews" (Museo di Capodimonte).

Last Years

Titian remained active until his death in Venice at about age 85--although is subject to controversy.

Influence

Titian has had a major influence on Western art. He was masterfull in virtually everybaspect of painting. He revolutionized oil painting with his unrestrained and expressive brushwork. Vasari wrote of this aspect of his late works that they "are executed with bold, sweeping strokes, and in patches of color, with the result that they cannot be viewed from near by, but appear perfect at a distance... The method he used is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, for it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but it conceals the labor that has gone into them."






Christopher Wagner





Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Artists pages:
[Return to Main Artists S-Z page]
[Chronology] [Countries] [Individuals] [Styles]


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]



Created: January 22, 2002
Last updated: July 28, 2002