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Tiziano Vecellio


Tiziano Vecellio (ca. 1488-1576), better known as Titian, was the greatest Venetian artist of the sixteenth century. Recognized by his contemporaries as "the sun amidst small stars" (the famous final line of Dante's Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile Italian painters of all time. He was equally adept with portraits, landscape, backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. Known for his remarkable use of color, Titian's painterly approach exercised a profound influence not only on the painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of western art. The exact date of Titian's birth is uncertain but scholarship supports a date of 1488. He was born the eldest son of Gregorio Vecellio, superintendent of the castle of Pieve di Cadore, and his family was well-established in the area ruled by Venice. At the age of about ten to twelve, Titian and his brother Francesco were sent to an uncle in Venice to find an apprenticeship with a painter. Titian trained under two seminal Venetian artists, Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione. Titian eventually became unrivaled in the Venetian School and for sixty years was the undisputed master of Venetian painting. Some of his greater-known works include the Assumption of the Virgin for the high altar of Santa Maria Gloriosa die Fran (1516-18), The Death of St. Peter Martyr (1530) formerly in the Dominican Church of San Zanipole, Venus of Urbino (1538) in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, and the equestrian state portrait of Emperor Charles V (1548) at Muhlberg. Titian was estimated to be in his late eighties when he died from plague on August 27, 1576.

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Click here to see more of Sharon Spangler's story on the unveiling of Titian's La Bella.

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