Titian

Titian

Overview
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian (icon) was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school
Venetian school (art)
-Context:In the 15th century Venetian painting developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of Early Netherlandish painting. It is typified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour...

. He was born in Pieve di Cadore
Pieve di Cadore
Pieve di Cadore is a comune in the province of Belluno in the Italian region Veneto, located about 110 km north of Venice and about 35 km northeast of Belluno.The painter Titian was born here, c. 1485...

, near Belluno
Belluno
Belluno , is a town and province in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Located about 100 kilometres north of Venice, Belluno is the capital of the province of Belluno and the most important city in the Eastern Dolomiti's region. With its roughly 37,000 inhabitants, it the largest populated area...

 (in Veneto
Veneto
Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 5 million, ranking 5th in Italy.Veneto had been for more than a millennium an independent state, the Republic of Venice, until it was eventually annexed by Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule...

), in the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (recalling the famous final line of Dante's
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 Paradiso
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Titian'
Start a new discussion about 'Titian'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Quotations

He who improvises can never make a perfect line of poetry.

Encyclopedia
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian (icon) was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school
Venetian school (art)
-Context:In the 15th century Venetian painting developed through influences from the Paduan School and Antonello da Messina, who introduced the oil painting technique of Early Netherlandish painting. It is typified by a warm colour scale and a picturesque use of colour...

. He was born in Pieve di Cadore
Pieve di Cadore
Pieve di Cadore is a comune in the province of Belluno in the Italian region Veneto, located about 110 km north of Venice and about 35 km northeast of Belluno.The painter Titian was born here, c. 1485...

, near Belluno
Belluno
Belluno , is a town and province in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Located about 100 kilometres north of Venice, Belluno is the capital of the province of Belluno and the most important city in the Eastern Dolomiti's region. With its roughly 37,000 inhabitants, it the largest populated area...

 (in Veneto
Veneto
Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about 5 million, ranking 5th in Italy.Veneto had been for more than a millennium an independent state, the Republic of Venice, until it was eventually annexed by Italy in 1866 after brief Austrian and French rule...

), in the Republic of Venice
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth.

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (recalling the famous final line of Dante's
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

 Paradiso
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy is an epic poem written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

), 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 color, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

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

Early years


The exact date of Titian's birth is uncertain; when he was an old man he claimed in a letter to Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 to have been born in 1474, but this seems most unlikely. Other writers contemporary to his old age give figures which would equate to birthdates between 1473 to after 1482, but most modern scholars believe a date nearer 1490 is more likely; the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

's timeline supports c.1488, as does the Getty Research Institute
Getty Research Institute
The Getty Research Institute , located at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California, is "dedicated to furthering knowledge and advancing understanding of the visual arts". A program of the J...

. He was the eldest son of Gregorio Vecelli and his wife Lucia. His father was superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore and managed local mines for their owners. Gregorio was also a distinguished councilor and soldier. Many relatives, including Titian's grandfather, were notaries, and the family of four were well-established in the area, which was ruled by Venice.
At the age of about ten to twelve he and his brother Francesco (who perhaps followed later) were sent to an uncle in Venice to find an apprenticeship with a painter. The minor painter Sebastian Zuccato, whose sons became well-known mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

ists, and who may have been a family friend, arranged for the brothers to enter the studio of the elderly Gentile Bellini
Gentile Bellini
Gentile Bellini was an Italian painter. From 1474 he was the official portrait artist for the Doges of Venice.- Biography :...

, from which they later transferred to that of his brother Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

. At that time the Bellinis, especially Giovanni, were the leading artists in the city. There Titian found a group of young men about his own age, among them Giovanni Palma da Serinalta, Lorenzo Lotto
Lorenzo Lotto
Lorenzo Lotto was a Northern Italian painter draughtsman and illustrator, traditionally placed in the Venetian school. He painted mainly altarpieces, religious subjects and portraits...

, Sebastiano Luciani
Sebastiano del Piombo
Sebastiano del Piombo , byname of Sebastiano Luciani, was an Italian Renaissance-Mannerist painter of the early 16th century famous for his combination of the colors of the Venetian school and the monumental forms of the Roman school.- Biography :Sebastiano del Piombo belongs to the painting school...

, and Giorgio da Castelfranco, nicknamed Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

. Francesco Vecellio
Francesco Vecellio
Francesco Vecellio was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance, best known as the elder brother of the painter Titian. In his youth, he was a soldier. As a painter, he was mainly active in 1520-1530s in Cadore. In 1524, he signed an altarpiece for San Vito in Cadore. In 1540s, he painted a...

, his older brother, later became a painter of some note in Venice.

A fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 of Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 on the Morosini
Morosini
The Morosini were a noble Venetian family, probably of Romanian extraction, that gave many doges, statesmen, generals and admirals to the Venetian Republic, and cardinals to the Church. The origin of the name seems to be connected with the toponym Urbs Morisena, i.e. The City on Moris , and the...

 Palace is said to have been one of Titian's earliest works; others were the Bellini-esque so-called Gypsy Madonna in Vienna, and the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth (from the convent of S. Andrea), now in the Accademia
Accademia
The Accademia is a museum gallery of pre-19th century art in Venice, northern Italy. Situated on the south bank of the Grand Canal, within the sestiere of Dorsoduro, it gives its name to one of the three bridges across the canal, the Ponte dell'Accademia, and to the boat landing station for the...

, Venice.

Titian joined Giorgione as an assistant, but many contemporary critics already found his work more impressive, for example in the exterior frescoes (now almost totally destroyed) that they did for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi
Fondaco dei Tedeschi
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi is a historic building in Venice, northern Italy, situated on the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge. It was the headquarters and restricted living quarters of the city's German merchants...

 (state-warehouse for the German merchants), and their relationship evidently had a significant element of rivalry. Distinguishing between their work at this period remains a subject of scholarly controversy, and there has been a substantial movement of attributions from Giorgione to Titian in the 20th century, with little traffic the other way. One of the earliest known works of Titian, Christ Carrying the Cross in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Scuola Grande di San Rocco
The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is a building in Venice, northern Italy.-History:The Scuola di San Rocco was established in 1478 by a group of wealthy Venetian citizens, next to the church of San Rocco, from which it takes its name.In January 1515 the project of the building was entrusted...

, depicting the Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo are the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of the , when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion. The original Greek is Ἰδοὺ ὁ ἄνθρωπος . The King James Version translates the phrase...

scene, was long regarded as the work of Giorgione.

The two young masters were likewise recognized as the two leaders of their new school of arte moderna, which is characterized by paintings made more flexible, freed from symmetry and the remnants of hieratic conventions still to be found in the works of Giovanni Bellini.
In 1507–1508 Giorgione was commissioned by the state to create frescoes on the re-erected Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Titian and Morto da Feltre
Morto da Feltre
Morto da Feltre was an Italian painter of the Venetian school who worked at the close of the 15th century and beginning of the 16th.His real name appears to have been Pietro Luzzo, Pietro Luci or Lorenzo Luzzo; he is also known by the name Zarato or Zarotto, either from the place of his death or...

 worked along with him, and some fragments of paintings remain, probably by Giorgione. Some of their work is known, in part, through the engravings of Fontana
Giovanni Battista Fontana (painter)
Giovanni Battista Fontana was an Italian painter and engraver.Fontana's training made use of the paintings of masters such as Titian and Veronese. His artistic output in Austria which is recorded from 1562, included major work on altarpieces, with countless sketches and engravings...

. After Giorgione's early death in 1510, Titian continued to paint Giorgionesque subjects for some time, though his style developed its own features, including bold and expressive brushwork.

Titian's talent in fresco is shown in those he painted in 1511 at Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

 in the Carmelite
Carmelites
The Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Carmelites is a Catholic religious order perhaps founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel, hence its name. However, historical records about its origin remain uncertain...

 church and in the Scuola del Santo, some of which have been preserved, among them the Meeting at the Golden Gate, and three scenes (Miracoli di sant'Antonio) from the life of St. Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

, The Miracle of the Jealous Husband which depicts the Murder of a Young Woman by Her Husband, (see New findings in Titian's Fresco technique at the Scuola del Santo in Padua, The Art Bulletin March 1999, Volume LXXXI Number 1, Author Sergio Rossetti Morosini), A Child Testifying to Its Mother's Innocence, and The Saint Healing the Young Man with a Broken Limb.

From Padua in 1512, Titian returned to Venice; and in 1513 he obtained a broker's patent, termed La Sanseria or Senseria (a privilege much coveted by rising or risen artists), in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi and became superintendent of the government works, being especially charged to complete the paintings left unfinished by Giovanni Bellini in the hall of the great council in the ducal palace. He set up an atelier on the Grand Canal at S. Samuele, the precise site being now unknown. It was not until 1516, after the death of Giovanni Bellini, that he came into actual enjoyment of his patent. At the same time he entered an exclusive arrangement for painting. The patent yielded him a good annuity of 20 crowns and exempted him from certain taxes—he being bound in return to paint likenesses of the successive Doges
Doge of Venice
The Doge of Venice , often mistranslated Duke was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state's aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city...

 of his time at the fixed price of eight crowns each. The actual number he painted was five.

Growth



During this period (1516–1530), which may be called the period of his mastery and maturity, the artist moved on from his early Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

sque style, undertook larger and more complex subjects and for the first time attempted a monumental style.
Giorgione died in 1510 and Giovanni Bellini in 1516, leaving Titian unrivaled in the Venetian School. For sixty years he was to be the undisputed master of Venetian painting. In 1516 he completed for the high altar of the church of the Frari
Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
The Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, usually just called the Frari, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the greatest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. It stands on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district...

, his famous masterpiece, the Assumption of the Virgin
Assumption of the Virgin (Titian)
Assumption of the Virgin is a large oil painting by Italian Renaissance artist Titian, executed in 1516-1518. It is located on the high altar in the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, being the largest altarpiece in the city.-History:...

, still in situ. This extraordinary piece of colorism, executed on a grand scale rarely before seen in Italy, created a sensation. The Signoria
Signoria
A Signoria was an abstract noun meaning 'government; governing authority; de facto sovereignty; lordship in many of the Italian city states during the medieval and renaissance periods....

 took note, and observed that Titian was neglecting his work in the hall of the great council, but in 1516 he succeeded his master Giovanni Bellini in receiving a pension from the Senate.

The pictorial structure of the Assumption—that of uniting in the same composition two or three scenes superimposed on different levels, earth and heaven, the temporal and the infinite — was continued in a series of works such as the retable of San Domenico at Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

 (1520), the retable of Brescia
Brescia
Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, between the Mella and the Naviglio, with a population of around 197,000. It is the second largest city in Lombardy, after the capital, Milan...

 (1522), and the retable of San Niccolò (1523), in the Vatican Museum), each time attaining to a higher and more perfect conception, finally reaching a classic formula in the Pesaro Madonna
Pesaro Madonna
The Pesaro Madonna is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian, commissioned by Jacopo Pesaro, whose family acquired in 1518 the chapel in the Frari Basilica in Venice for which the work was painted, and where it remains today...

, (better known as the Madonna di Ca' Pesaro) (c. 1519–1526), also for the Frari church. This perhaps is his most studied work, whose patiently developed plan is set forth with supreme display of order and freedom, originality and style. Here Titian gave a new conception of the traditional groups of donors and holy persons moving in aerial space, the plans and different degrees set in an architectural framework.

Titian was now at the height of his fame, and towards 1521, following the production of a figure of St. Sebastian for the papal legate in Brescia (a work of which there are numerous replicas), purchasers pressed for his work.

To this period belongs a more extraordinary work, The Death of St. Peter Martyr (1530), formerly in the Dominican Church of San Zanipolo
Basilica di San Zanipolo
The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the largest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica...

, and destroyed by an Austrian shell in 1867. Only copies and engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

s of this proto-Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 picture remain; it combined extreme violence and a landscape, mostly consisting of a great tree, that pressed into the scene and seems to accentuate the drama in a way that looks forward to the Baroque.

The artist simultaneously continued his series of small Madonnas
Madonna (art)
Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...

 which he treated amid beautiful landscapes in the manner of genre pictures or poetic pastorals, the Virgin with the Rabbit in the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

 being the finished type of these pictures. Another work of the same period, also in the Louvre, is the Entombment. This was also the period of the three large and famous mythological scenes for the camerino of Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

, The Andrians and the Worship of Venus in the Prado, and the Bacchus and Ariadne
Bacchus and Ariadne
Bacchus and Ariadne is an oil painting by Titian. It is one of a cycle of paintings on mythological subjects produced for Alfonso d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara, for the Camerino d'Alabastro – a private room in his palazzo in Ferrara decorated with paintings based on classical texts...

(1520–23) in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, "...perhaps the most brilliant productions of the neo-pagan culture or "Alexandrianism" of the Renaissance, many times imitated but never surpassed even by Rubens himself." Finally this was the period when the artist composed the half-length figures and busts of young women, probably courtesan
Courtesan
A courtesan was originally a female courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

s, such as Flora of the Uffizi
Uffizi
The Uffizi Gallery , is a museum in Florence, Italy. It is one of the oldest and most famous art museums of the Western world.-History:...

, or Woman at the Mirror in the Louvre (the scientific images of this painting are available, with explanations, on the website of the French Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France).

Titian's wife, Cecilia—a barber's daughter from his hometown village of Cadore—was a young woman who had been his housekeeper and mistress for some five years. Cecilia had already borne Titian two fine sons, Pomponio and Orazio, when in 1525 she fell seriously ill. Titian, wishing to legitimize the children, married her. The marriage was a happy one and Cecilia recovered and bore him two more children, both daughters. Only one of them, Lavinia, survived. Titian's favorite child was Orazio
Orazio Vecellio
Orazio Vecellio was an Italian painter of the Renaissance period. the son and pupil of Titian, was born at Venice about 1528. He distinguished himself as a painter of portraits, some of which were thought little inferior to those of his father...

, who became his assistant.

In August 1530 his wife died giving birth to daughter Lavinia, and with his two boys plus infant girl he moved house, and convinced his sister Orsa to come from Cadore and take charge of the household. The mansion, difficult to find now, is in the Biri Grande, then a fashionable suburb, at the extreme end of Venice, on the sea, with beautiful gardens and a view towards Murano. In about 1526 he had became acquainted, and soon intimate, with Pietro Aretino
Pietro Aretino
Pietro Aretino was an Italian author, playwright, poet and satirist who wielded immense influence on contemporary art and politics and invented modern literate pornography.- Life :...

, the influential and audacious figure who features so strangely in the chronicles of the time. Titian sent a portrait of him to Gonzaga, duke of Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

.

Maturity


During the next period (1530–1550), Titian developed the style introduced by his dramatic Death of St. Peter Martyr. The Venetian government, dissatisfied with Titian's neglect of the work for the ducal palace, ordered him in 1538 to refund the money which he had received, and Pordenone
Pordenone
Pordenone is a comune of Pordenone province of northeast Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region.The name comes from the Latin "Portus Naonis" meaning the port on the river Noncello - History :...

, his rival of recent years, was installed in his place. However, at the end of a year Pordenone died, and Titian, who meanwhile applied himself diligently to painting in the hall the Battle of Cadore, was reinstated. This major battle scene was lost along with so many other major works by Venetian artists by the great fire which destroyed all the old pictures in the great chambers of the Doge's Palace in 1577. It represented in life-size the moment at which the Venetian general, D'Alviano
Bartolomeo d'Alviano
Bartolomeo d'Alviano was an Italian condottiero and captain who distinguished himself in the defence of the Venetian Republic against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian.-Biography:...

 attacked the enemy with horses and men crashing down into a stream, and was the artist's most important attempt at a tumultuous and heroic scene of movement to rival Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

's Battle of Constantine and the equally ill-fated Battle of Cascina of Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 and The Battle of Anghiari of Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 (both unfinished). There remains only a poor, incomplete copy at the Uffizi, and a mediocre engraving by Fontana. The Speech of the Marquis del Vasto (Madrid, 1541) was also partly destroyed by fire. But this period of the master's work is still represented by the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin (Venice, 1539), one of his most popular canvasses, and by the Ecce Homo (Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, 1541). Despite its loss, the painting had a great influence on Bolognese
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 art and Rubens
Rubens
Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens , the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens (composer) Rubens is...

, both in the handling of details and the general effect of horses, soldiers, lictors, powerful stirrings of crowds at the foot of a stairway, lit by torches with the flapping of banners against the sky.

Less successful were the pendentive
Pendentive
A pendentive is a constructive device permitting the placing of a circular dome over a square room or an elliptical dome over a rectangular room. The pendentives, which are triangular segments of a sphere, taper to points at the bottom and spread at the top to establish the continuous circular or...

s of the cupola at Santa Maria della Salute (Death of Abel, Sacrifice of Abraham, David and Goliath). These violent scenes viewed in perspective from below—like the famous pendentives of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

—were by their very nature in unfavorable situations. They were nevertheless much admired and imitated, Rubens among others applying this system to his forty ceilings (the sketches only remain) of the Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 church at Antwerp.

At this time also, during his visit to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, the artist began his series of reclining Venuses (The Venus of Urbino
Venus of Urbino
The Venus of Urbino is a 1538 oil painting by the Italian master Titian. It depicts a nude young woman, identified with the goddess Venus, reclining on a couch or bed in the sumptuous surroundings of a Renaissance palace. It hangs in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. The figure's pose is based...

of the Uffizi, Venus and Love at the same museum, Venus and the Organ-Player, Madrid), in which is recognized the effect or the direct reflection of the impression produced on the master by contact with ancient sculpture. Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

 had already dealt with the subject in his Dresden picture, finished by Titian, but here a purple drapery substituted for a landscape background changed, by its harmonious coloring, the whole meaning of the scene.

Titian had from the beginning of his career shown himself to be a masterful portrait-painter, in works like La Bella (Eleanora de Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, at the Pitti Palace). He painted the likenesses of princes, or Doges, cardinals or monks, and artists or writers. "...no other painter was so successful in extracting from each physiognomy so many traits at once characteristic and beautiful", according to The Catholic Encyclopedia. Among portrait-painters Titian is compared to Rembrandt and Velázquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

, with the interior life of the former, and the clearness, certainty, and obviousness of the latter.
The last-named qualities are sufficiently manifested in the Portrait of Paul III of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, or the sketch of the same pope and his two nephews
Paul III and His Nephews Alessandro and Ottavio Farnese
Pope Paul III and his Grandsons was painted by the Italian Renaissance artist Titian between 1545-1546 on oil and canvas. The painting portrays the aged Pope Paul III sitting, with his grandson Ottavio Farnese, Duke of Parma kneeling at his left, and, behind him on the right, his other grandson...

, the Portrait of Aretino of the Pitti Palace, the Eleanora of Portugal (Madrid), and the series of Emperor Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 of the same museum, the Charles V with a Greyhound (1533), and especially the Equestrian Portrait of Charles V
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V
Equestrian Portrait of Charles V is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Titian. Created between April and September 1548 while Titian was at the imperial court of Augsburg, it is a tribute to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, following Charles' victory in the April 1547 Battle...

(1548), an equestrian picture which as a symphony of purples is perhaps the ne plus ultra of the art of painting. In 1532 after painting a portrait of the emperor Charles V in Bologna he was made a Count Palatine and knight of the Golden Spur. His children were also made nobles of the Empire, which for a painter was an exceptional honor.

As a matter of professional and worldly success his position from about this time is regarded as equal only to that of Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, Michelangelo, and at a later date Rubens. In 1540 he received a pension from D'Avalos, marquis del Vasto, and an annuity of 200 crowns (which was afterwards doubled) from Charles V from the treasury of Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. Another source of profit, for he was always aware of money, was a contract obtained in 1542 for supplying grain to Cadore, where he visited almost every year and where he was both generous and influential.

Titian had a favorite villa on the neighboring Manza Hill (in front of the church of Castello Roganzuolo
Castello Roganzuolo
Castello Roganzuolo is a frazione of San Fior comune in the Province of Treviso in the Italian region Veneto, located on Conegliano hills about 50 km north of Venice and about 30 km northeast of Treviso.-SS...

) from which (it may be inferred) he made his chief observations of landscape form and effect. The so-called Titian's mill, constantly discernible in his studies, is at Collontola, near Belluno.

He visited Rome in 1546, and obtained the freedom of the city—his immediate predecessor in that honor having been Michelangelo in 1537. He could at the same time have succeeded the painter Sebastiano del Piombo
Sebastiano del Piombo
Sebastiano del Piombo , byname of Sebastiano Luciani, was an Italian Renaissance-Mannerist painter of the early 16th century famous for his combination of the colors of the Venetian school and the monumental forms of the Roman school.- Biography :Sebastiano del Piombo belongs to the painting school...

 in his lucrative office as holder of the piombo or Papal seal
Seal (device)
A seal can be a figure impressed in wax, clay, or some other medium, or embossed on paper, with the purpose of authenticating a document ; but the term can also mean the device for making such impressions, being essentially a mould with the mirror image of the design carved in sunken- relief or...

, and he was prepared to take holy orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 for the purpose; but the project lapsed through his being summoned away from Venice in 1547 to paint Charles V and others in Augsburg
Augsburg
Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and home of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben and the Bezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is, as of 2008, the third-largest city in Bavaria with a...

. He was there again in 1550, and executed the portrait of Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 which was sent to England and proved useful in Philip's suit for the hand of Queen Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

.

Final years


During the last twenty-six years of his life (1550–1576) the artist worked mainly for Philip II and as a portrait-painter. He became more self-critical, an insatiable perfectionist, keeping some pictures in his studio for ten years, never wearying of returning to them and retouching them, constantly adding new expressions at once more refined, concise, and subtle. He also finished off many copies of earlier works of his by his pupils, giving rise to many problems of attribution and priority among versions of his works, which were also very widely copied and faked outside his studio, during his lifetime and afterwards.

For Philip II he painted a series of large mythological paintings known as the "poesie", mostly from Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, which are regarded as among his greatest works. Thanks to the prudishness of Philip's successors, these were later mostly given as gifts and only two remain in the Prado. Titian was producing religious works for Philip at the same time. The "poesie" series began with Venus and Adonis
Adonis
Adonis , in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions. The Greek , Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, "lord", which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old...

, of which the original is in the Prado, but several versions exist, and Danaë
Danaë (Titian series)
The Danaë series comprises at least five oil-on-canvas paintings by the Venetian master Titian, completed between 1553 and 1556. The works are based on the mythological princess Danaë. According to Ovid she was isolated in a bronze dungeon following a prophecy that her firstborn would eventually...

, both sent to Philip in 1553. Diana and Actaeon
Diana and Actaeon (Titian)
Diana and Actaeon is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian, finished in 1556–1559, and is considered amongst Titian's greatest works. It portrays the moment in which the goddess Diana meets Actaeon. In 2008–2009, the National Gallery, London and National Gallery of Scotland...

and Diana and Callisto
Diana and Callisto
Diana and Callisto is a painting of 1556–59 by the Venetian artist Titian. It is currently part of the Bridgewater or Sutherland Loan, on display at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, with a later version by Titian and his workshop in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna...

, were despatched in 1559, then Perseus and Andromeda (Wallace Collection
Wallace Collection
The Wallace Collection is a museum in London, with a world-famous range of fine and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries with large holdings of French 18th-century paintings, furniture, arms & armour, porcelain and Old Master paintings arranged into 25 galleries.It was established in...

, now damaged) and the Rape of Europa (Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or Fenway Court, as the museum was known during Isabella Stewart Gardner's lifetime, is a museum in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, located within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Arts and near the Back Bay Fens...

), delivered in 1562. The Death of Actaeon
The Death of Actaeon
The Death of Actaeon is a late work by Italian Renaissance master Titian, painted in 1559 to 1575 as an oil on canvas and now housed in the National Gallery of London, United Kingdom...

was begun in 1559 but worked on for many years, and never completed or delivered. Another painting that apparently remained in his studio at his death, and has been much less well known until recent decades, is the powerful, even "repellant", Flaying of Marsyas
Marsyas
In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas is a central figure in two stories involving music: in one, he picked up the double flute that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life...

(Kroměříž
Kromeríž
Kroměříž is a town in the Zlín Region of the Czech Republic. The town's main landmark is the Baroque Kroměříž Bishop's Palace, where some scenes from Amadeus and Immortal Beloved were filmed...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

) Another violent masterpiece is the Tarquin
Tarquin
Tarquin may refer to:* Tarquin , a chamber operaPeople with the given name Tarquin:* Tarquin the Elder , fifth of the seven legendary kings of Rome* Tarquin the Proud , last of the seven legendary kings of Rome...

 and Lucretia
Lucretia
Lucretia is a legendary figure in the history of the Roman Republic. According to the story, told mainly by the Roman historian Livy and the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus , her rape by the king's son and consequent suicide were the immediate cause of the revolution that overthrew the...

(Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

, Fitzwilliam Museum
Fitzwilliam Museum
The Fitzwilliam Museum is the art and antiquities museum of the University of Cambridge, located on Trumpington Street opposite Fitzwilliam Street in central Cambridge, England. It receives around 300,000 visitors annually. Admission is free....

).

For each of the problems which he successively undertook he furnished a new and more perfect formula. He never again equaled the emotion and tragedy of the The Crowning with Thorns (Louvre), in the expression of the mysterious and the divine he never equaled the poetry of the Pilgrims of Emmaus, while in superb and heroic brilliancy he never again executed anything more grand than The Doge Grimani adoring Faith (Venice, Doge's Palace), or the Trinity, of Madrid. On the other hand from the standpoint of flesh tints, his most moving pictures are those of his old age, such as the poesie and the Antiope
Antiope
Antiope can mean:* Greek mythology** Antiope , sister of Hippolyte kidnapped by Theseus, during Heracles' ninth labour** Antiope by Zeus, associated with the mythology of Thebes, Greece...

of the Louvre. He even attempted problems of chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro in art is "an Italian term which literally means 'light-dark'. In paintings the description refers to clear tonal contrasts which are often used to suggest the volume and modelling of the subjects depicted"....

 in fantastic night effects (Martyrdom of St. Laurence, Church of the Jesuits, Venice; St. Jerome, Louvre; Crucifixion
Crucifixion (Titian)
The Crucifixion is a life sized painting by the Venetian artist Titian, completed in 1558 and presently hanging in the sanctuary of the church of San Domenico, Ancona. Jesus Christ is shown crucified, with Saint Mary and Saint John standing either side of the cross in the Stabat Mater tradition....

, Church of San Domenico, Ancona).

Titian had engaged his daughter Lavinia, the beautiful girl whom he loved deeply and painted various times, to Cornelio Sarcinelli of Serravalle. She had succeeded her aunt Orsa, then deceased, as the manager of the household, which, with the lordly income that Titian made by this time, placed her on a corresponding footing. The marriage took place in 1554. She died in childbirth in 1560.

He was at the Council of Trent
Council of Trent
The Council of Trent was the 16th-century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It is considered to be one of the Church's most important councils. It convened in Trent between December 13, 1545, and December 4, 1563 in twenty-five sessions for three periods...

 towards 1555, of which there is a finished sketch in the Louvre. Titian's friend Aretino died suddenly in 1556, and another close intimate, the sculptor and architect Jacopo Sansovino
Jacopo Sansovino
Jacopo d'Antonio Sansovino was an Italian sculptor and architect, known best for his works around the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Andrea Palladio, in the Preface to his Quattro Libri was of the opinion that Sansovino's Biblioteca Marciana was the best building erected since Antiquity...

, in 1570. In September 1565 Titian went to Cadore and designed the decorations for the church at Pieve, partly executed by his pupils. One of these is a Transfiguration, another an Annunciation
Annunciation (Titian)
The Annunciation is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian, executed between 1559 and 1564. It is housed in the church of San Salvador, Venice, northern Italy....

(now in S. Salvatore, Venice), inscribed Titianus fecit, by way of protest (it is said) against the disparagement of some persons who caviled at the veteran's failing handicraft.

Around 1560 Titian painted the oil on canvas Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria, a derivative on the motif of Madonna and Child. It is suggested that members of Titian's Venice workshop probably painted the curtain and Luke, because of the lower quality of those parts.

He continued to accept commissions to the end of his life. He had selected as the place for his burial the chapel of the Crucifix in the Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the church of the Franciscan Order; in return for a grave, he offered the Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s a picture of the Pietà
Pietà (Titian)
Pietà is the last painting by the Italian master Titian . It is housed in the Gallerie dell'Accademia of Venice.The picture represents, over the background of a larger niche in Mannerist style, the Madonna supporting the body of Christ, with the help of a kneeling Nicodemus...

, representing himself and his son Orazio before the Savior, another figure in the composition being a sibyl. This work he nearly finished, but some differences arose regarding it, and he then settled to be interred in his native Pieve.

Titian was (depending on his unknown birthdate—see above) probably in his late eighties when the plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

 raging in Venice took him on 27 August 1576. He was the only victim of the Venice plague to be given a church burial. He was interred in the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), as at first intended, and his Pietà was finished by Palma the Younger. He lies near his own famous painting, the Madonna di Ca' Pesaro. No memorial marked his grave, until much later the Austrian rulers of Venice commissioned Canova
Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova was an Italian sculptor from the Republic of Venice who became famous for his marble sculptures that delicately rendered nude flesh...

 to provide the large monument.

Immediately after Titian's own death, his son and assistant Orazio died of the same epidemic. His sumptuous mansion was plundered during the plague by thieves.

Printmaking


Titian himself never attempted engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

, but he was very conscious of the importance of printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

 as a means of further expanding his reputation. In the period 1517–1520 he designed a number of woodcut
Woodcut
Woodcut—occasionally known as xylography—is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges...

s, including an enormous and impressive one of The Crossing of the Red Sea, and collaborated with Domenico Campagnola
Domenico Campagnola
Domenico Campagnola was an Italian painter and printmaker in engraving and woodcut of the Venetian Renaissance, but whose most influential works were his drawings of landscapes.-Life and work:...

 and others, who produced further prints
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

 based on his paintings and drawings. Much later he provided drawings based on his paintings to Cornelius Cort from the Netherlands who engraved them. Martino Rota followed Cort from about 1558 to 1568.

Family


Several other artists of the Vecelli family followed in the wake of Titian. Francesco Vecellio
Francesco Vecellio
Francesco Vecellio was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance, best known as the elder brother of the painter Titian. In his youth, he was a soldier. As a painter, he was mainly active in 1520-1530s in Cadore. In 1524, he signed an altarpiece for San Vito in Cadore. In 1540s, he painted a...

, his elder brother, was introduced to painting by Titian (it is said at the age of twelve, but chronology will hardly admit of this), and painted in the church of S. Vito in Cadore a picture of the titular saint armed. This was a noteworthy performance, of which Titian (the usual story) became jealous; so Francesco was diverted from painting to soldiering, and afterwards to mercantile life.

Marco Vecellio, called Marco di Tiziano, Titian's nephew, born in 1545, was constantly with the master in his old age, and learned his methods of work. He has left some able productions in the ducal palace, the Meeting of Charles V. and Clement VII
Pope Clement VII
Clement VII , born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici, was a cardinal from 1513 to 1523 and was Pope from 1523 to 1534.-Early life:...

. in 1529
; in S. Giacomo di Rialto, an Annunciation ; in SS. Giovani e Paolo, Christ Fulminant. A son of Marco, named Tiziano (or Tizianello), painted early in the 17th century.

From a different branch of the family came Fabrizio di Ettore, a painter who died in 1580. His brother Cesare, who also left some pictures, is well known by his book of engraved costumes, Abiti antichi e moderni. Tommaso Vecelli, also a painter, died in 1620. There was another relative, Girolamo Dante, who, being a scholar and assistant of Titian, was called Girolamo di Tiziano
Girolamo di Tiziano
Girolamo di Tiziano , also known as Girolamo Dante or Girolamo Dente, flourished at Venice from 1550 to 1580...

. Various pictures of his were touched up by the master, and are difficult to distinguish from originals.

Few of the pupils and assistants of Titian became well known in their own right; for some being his assistant was probably a lifetime career. Paris Bordone
Paris Bordone
Paris Bordon was an Italian painter of the Venetian Renaissance who, despite training with Titian, maintained a strand of mannerist complexity and provincial vigor.-Biography:...

 and Bonifazio Veronese
Bonifazio Veronese
Bonifazio Veronese was an Italian painter. He was born as Bonifazio de' Pitati in Verona. He reputedly trained under Palma il Vecchio. Went on to run a large workshop in Venice. His paintings include Christ Giving a Sermon, , The , and Woman Holding Two Tablets, his style being influenced by...

 were his assistants during at some point in their careers. Giulio Clovio said Titian employed El Greco
El Greco
El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος .El Greco was born on Crete, which was at...

 (or Dominikos Theotokopoulos) in his last years.

Present day



Two of Titian's works in private hands have been up for sale. One of these works, Diana and Actaeon
Diana and Actaeon (Titian)
Diana and Actaeon is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Titian, finished in 1556–1559, and is considered amongst Titian's greatest works. It portrays the moment in which the goddess Diana meets Actaeon. In 2008–2009, the National Gallery, London and National Gallery of Scotland...

, was purchased by London's National Gallery
National gallery
The National Gallery is an art gallery on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom.National Gallery may also refer to:*Armenia: National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan*Australia:**National Gallery of Australia, Canberra...

 and the National Galleries of Scotland
National Galleries of Scotland
The National Galleries of Scotland are the five national galleries of Scotland and two partner galleries. It is one of the country's National Collections.-List of national galleries:* The National Gallery of Scotland* The Royal Scottish Academy Building...

 on February 2, 2009 for ₤50 million ($71 million). The galleries had until December 31, 2008 to make the purchase before the work would be offered to private collectors, but the deadline was extended. The other painting, Diana and Callisto, will be up for sale for the same amount until 2012 before it is offered to private collectors.

The sale has created controversy with politicians who said "the money, some of which came from government funds, could have been spent more wisely during a deepening recession." The Scottish government offered ₤12.5 million and ₤10 million came from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The rest of the money came from the National Galleries in London and from private donations.

In 2011, A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria, was put for an auction at Sotheby's
Sotheby's
Sotheby's is the world's fourth oldest auction house in continuous operation.-History:The oldest auction house in operation is the Stockholms Auktionsverk founded in 1674, the second oldest is Göteborgs Auktionsverk founded in 1681 and third oldest being founded in 1731, all Swedish...

, and it was sold on 28. January 2011 for $16.9 million.

On February 11, 2009, an argument about Titian's age at death arose between British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

, and Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition
The Leader of the Opposition is a title traditionally held by the leader of the largest party not in government in a Westminster System of parliamentary government...

 David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

 at Prime Minister's Questions
Prime Minister's Questions
Prime minister's questions is a constitutional convention in the United Kingdom that takes place every Wednesday during which the prime minister spends half an hour answering questions from members of parliament...

, where Cameron was attempting to ridicule Brown's general factual accuracy. This debate spilt over onto Titian's entry on Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

, when an editor from Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 HQ
Headquarters
Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

 altered Titian's dates to substantiate David Cameron's claim and then directed the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 to the article for them to use as verification. Cameron later apologized and said the staff member had been "disciplined". The precise date of Titian's birth is uncertain (see above).

The reference was to Brown's comment on 30 January 2009 to the World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland....

 in Davos
Davos
Davos is a municipality in the district of Prättigau/Davos in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It has a permanent population of 11,248 . Davos is located on the Landwasser River, in the Swiss Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range...

:

External links