Titian And His Masters Essay, Research Paper
Titian, or Tiziano Vecellio was a notorious Venetian painter of the High Renaissance who s talent achieved worldly success and had direct influence on various painters who later attempted to imitate his technique. Titian was born in Pieve di Cadore in Italy towards the end of the 15th century. Evidence regarding the actual date of Titian s birth is contradictory and inconclusive (Hope 11). The date of Titian s birth is noted to be between 1477-1490, varying on the source. Titian fell under the influence of several famous painters who played a relevant part in establishing Titian s early career. His apprenticing to Giovanni Bellini and especially Giorgione of Castledefranco provided Titian with significant skills that assisted Titan in achieving his unique and extraordinary style. Due to his early experiences with these teachers, he learned to at first incorporate their style and eventually developed and created what would become his own masterful technique that would separate him and surpass his teachers and any other painter of his time. Titian s teachers played an important role in helping his admirers to understand how he acquired the talent he possessed and achieved his defining style that he would practice until his death.
Around the age of nine Titian was sent to Venice where he went to apprentice under Sabastiano Zuccato, an officer of the painter s guild, a mosaicist and fair painter. To start Titian was required to complete simple tasks such as cleaning palettes, washing brushes, grinding colours, and sweeping, chores all a part of a slow and tedious training process that all painters must endure. Titian consecrated to drawing, and then to preparing the surfaces for Sebastiano s paint. Eventually he was allowed to paint small and basic portions of the picture himself. Titian needed this training period (which takes anywhere between five and seven years) in order to be admitted to the guild, and only once a member of the guild, could a painter work. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1505, Titian (around 17) left to work in the studio of Gentile Bellini (Williams 30).
Titian only spent a short time apprenticing to Gentile, for his style bored Titian. At that point in time, he was at an age desperately seeking stimulation and challenge. Gentile s ways were too dry and laboring for Titian to tolerate. He was “urged by nature to greater things and seeking perfection in art, and approached Gentile s more gifted brother Giovanni” (Brown 57). Gentile inherited his father s style (Jacopo), slightly pretentious, solid, reserved, and decorous. Giovanni contrasting had a more naturalistic style that had a mix of softness, warmth and sweetness to it (Williams 12). Although a respected painter, Gentile being in his late seventies, was too mature, old-fashioned and “academic” to relate to Titian s juvenile and colourful style. Titian earlier work actually does mirror some of Gentile s tedious style, but also exhibits a “concern for more painterly matters – in colour and the way it is applied to the canvas” (Williams 30). The two could not connect on an artistic level in any way, and Titian found himself drawn to the style of his younger brother more so (Williams 30).
Giovanni Bellini played a notable role in Titian s life. Even after Titian had moved on to assist Giorgione, Giovanni remained to be significant as an examplar of the creative spirit to Titian. Titian eventually moved on to his own style, but only long after he had practiced Bellini s. Although it s difficult to identify in terms of specific works how influential Bellini was (according to Vasari), there are few but some examples (Brown 58). It is agreed (according to scholars) that the Antwerp picture is Titian s most Bellinesque work. According to Johannes Wilde, the repeated use of red and green throughout the composition plays a unifying role, like in Bellini s late altarpieces (Brown 59).
Around 1507, Giorgione hired Titian to assist him in decorating the newly built Fondaco dei Tedeschi (Williams 55). Giorgione had also been one of Giovanni Bellini s most gifted students (Williams 35), and was highly influenced by Giovanni s style (Williams 53). Throughout the entire history of Italian art, Giorgione was one of the most controversial and mysterious (yet gifted) figures. Although he had been credited with numerous paintings, few had survived, and their authenticity questioned. Many had shown to be retouched or repainted by other hands, especially by Titian after Giorgione s death (Willaims 53). The time Titian and Giorgione would spend together for the next three years (until Giorgione s untimely death due to the plague) would have an immense influence on Titian.
Even to this day, people have difficulty distinguishing the works between Giorgione and Titian (Hope 10). Although Titan has never been one to imitate another artist, Giorgione s influence was apparent, as Titian s style did assimilate to Giorgione s style during their time together. Titan was highly attracted to Giorgione s liberating technique. As opposed to Gentile who found it obligatory to begin with a series of detailed preliminary drawings before commencing a painting, Giorgione preferred to simply rough out his sketches in colour directly on to his canvas (Williams 56). In the painting Circumcision of the Christ Child, the high-keyed colours used by Titian are relatively Giorginesque (Brown 61). In Gypsy Madonna, the secular character of the Madonna, and the brilliant hues used by Titian (especially the light blue of the Virgin s robe) are also trademarks of Giorgione (Brown 62). Titian would continue to incorporate Giorgione s technique and style until his master s death.
Titan soon began to develop a personal style which would be due to a diverse combination of influences mainly credited towards Giorgione and the Florentine High Renaissance (Hope 32). After Giorgione s death there was much chatter over the Titan completing Giorgione s unfinished works. The authorship of The Concert remains debated. It s been said that both Giorgione and Titian worked on this painting, but not concurrently. Titian s style is shown through:
“the precise outline of the monk s left cheek, the drama of his flshing, sidelong glance, the dynamic attitude of his fingers poised over the keyboard express an energy and vitality that suggest the hand of Titan” (Williams 74).
Titian s own style began to form, and it was evident that now laid his colours on more thickly; his figures more voluptuous (unlike Giorgione s idealizations); and his brushstrokes were smooth and creamy. In Sacred and Profane Love (which was painted after Giorgione s death), the colours are more vibrant, and there is much more emphasis on texture in regards to the silks and satins (Williams 61). His technique is proves more bold, and he creates an impression of robust vitality through a clearer outline of his figures and firmer brushstrokes (Williams 71).