The Artists

"The Sun amidst small stars"

Titian, The Artists
Portrait of Titian

Titian, born Tiziano Vecellio, was the undisputed master of Venetian painting from the day his teacher Giorgione died in 1510. Already a formidable painter, Titian was about 22, had painted in the studios of the masters for over a decade, and was ready to stretch his wings. He completed his first recognized masterpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin, in 1518—a massive 690 x 360 cm altarpiece, and a massive commission to boot. The Assumption cemented Titian as a sought-after master of composition, bold color, and high drama.

Titian’s work made him rich. By 1540 he received a regular pension from the Marquis del Vasto, and 200 crowns per year from the Emperor Charles V. His grand religious works like The Assassination of St Peter Martyr (which was destroyed in a fire in 1867), were supported by numerous portrait commissions, where Titian brought humanity and expression to the faces of the royalty of the day.

But old age fogged the master’s brilliance. From the age of sixty, Titian became obsessed with perfection, hiding his canvases in his studio for years at a time, redrawing and retouching. In 1560, his daughter died, and Titian’s crisp outlines and bold colors were replaced with a foggy, scratchy style whose expression and melancholy can be seen as a precursor to Goya, even the expressionists. For more on Titian, you can read the biography written by his contemporary, Giorgio Vasari: The Lives of the Artists: Titian.

Reed Enger, "Titian, "The Sun amidst small stars"," in Obelisk Art History, Published February 15, 2016; last modified September 19, 2022,

Titian was an Italian artist born in 1488. Titian contributed to the Italian Renaissance movement and died on August 27, 1576.

Adonis Relinquishing Venus for the Hunt, Titian

Adonis Relinquishing Venus for the Hunt 1460

Pastoral Concert, Giorgione

Pastoral Concert 1509

Sacred and Profane Love, Titian

Sacred and Profane Love 1514

Flora, Titian

Flora 1515

Assumption of the Virgin, Titian

Assumption of the Virgin 1516 – 1518

Bacchus and Ariadne, Titian

Bacchus and Ariadne 1522 – 1523

Man with a Quilted Sleeve, Titian

Man with a Quilted Sleeve 1530

Mars, Venus and Amor, Titian

Mars, Venus and Amor 1530

David and Goliath, Titian

David and Goliath 1542 – 1544

The Sacrifice of Isaac, Titian

The Sacrifice of Isaac 1542 – 1544

Sisyphus, Titian

Sisyphus 1548 – 1549

Glory, Titian

Glory 1551 – 1554

Portrait of Doge Francesco Venier, Titian

Portrait of Doge Francesco Venier 1554 – 1556

The Burial of Christ - 1559, Titian

The Burial of Christ - 1559 1559

Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence, Titian

Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence 1550 – 1565

Christ Carrying the Cross, Titian

Christ Carrying the Cross 1565

The Tribute Money, Titian

The Tribute Money 1560 – 1568

Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes, Titian

Judith and Her Maidservant with the Head of Holofernes 1570

Self-portrait, Titian

Self-portrait 1565 – 1570

The Burial of Christ, Titian

The Burial of Christ 1572

Spain Succouring Religion, Titian

Spain Succouring Religion 1575

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