Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian, was an Italian and one of the greatest Renaissance painters of the Venetian school. He created a style far ahead of his time by fusing concepts from the High Renaissance and the Mannerist movement. One of the most versatile Italian painters, Titian was known to his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" and was equally skilled with portraits, landscapes, and mythical and religious subjects. Raphael and Michelangelo heavily influenced his early works, and his later works focused more on the use of color compared to the artists of the Renaissance, which deeply influenced later artists, such as Rubens and Poussin.
Titian was born in the small village of Pieve di Cadore around 1488-1490. Although the precise date of his birth is unknown, researchers often set it between 1488 and 1490 based on Ludovico Dolce's Dialogue of Painting, which claims that Titian was less than 20 years old at the time of the destroyed murals at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. His father was Gregorio Vecellio, a wealthy official, and his mother was named Lucia. Titian moved to Venice with his brother when he was around ten years old and took an apprenticeship to Gentile Bellini. He later studied at the studio of Giovanni Bellini, Gentile's brother and one of the most important painters in Venice at the time. He met Giorgione, who was 11 years older than Titian and a former student of Bellini. Since then, Titian rarely left Venice during his lifetime.
Titian admired Giorgione very much and was influenced by Giorgione’s fine landscape paintings and vibrant colors that it was hard to distinguish their works during this period. In 1510, Titian began working on his own in Venice, and the following year he went to Padua to work on paintings at the Scuola of St. Anthony. After Bellini's passing in 1516, Titian was chosen to serve as the Republic of Venice's official painter.
With the death of Giorgione in 1510 and Bellini in 1516, Titian became the most prominent figure in the Venetian Schoo at that time. Titian started working on his first significant commission in 1516 for a church in Venice named Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. He created the masterpiece Assumption of the Virgin for the church's high altar, which assisted in establishing Titian as one of the leading artists. His skillful use of color and beautiful depictions of the human body made him well-known. In 1525, Titian married Cecilia Soldani. In 1528-1529, Titian created The Death of St Peter Martyr, introducing a new style that he continued to develop between 1530 and 1550. Titian began working as a court painter for Charles V of the Holy Roman Emperor in around 1533. The Emperor also gave him the title of Count Palatine and knight of the Golden Spur. Titian created several of his most well-known portraits in the 1540s, including Equestrian Portrait of Charles V and Portrait of Pope Paul III.
Later Years and Death
Titian mainly worked as a portrait painter for Philip II during the latter years of his life. It is incredible how many portrait masterworks Titian produced throughout the rest of his life. His most well-known paintings during this time include Danaë, Venus and Adonis, and Pietà. On August 27, 1576, Titian died because of the plague when he was around 80 years old.