Tiziano Vicellio Titian Biography
TITIAN, OR TIZIANO, VECELLI, the head of the Venetian school, and one of the greatest painters that ever lived, was born of a good family, at Capo del Cadore, in the Frulian Alps, in the year 1477, or according to some in 1480. His predilection for drawing caused his father to send Titian to Venice at the age of ten, that he might learn to be a painter. Titian's instructors were Sebastiano Zuccati, and the two Bellinis, particulary Giovanni; but the painter that exercised the greatest influence on his style, was Giorgione. So vivid and keen was his appreciation of any artist’s painting, that Titian never failed to reproduce them with striking fidelity, and even to leave the impression that he had beaten the master whom he imitated, in his own style. It was owing to this irrepressible superiority, that the friendship between Giorgione and Titian was interrupted.
The first painting that brought Titian prominently into notice was his completion of the "Homage of Frederick Barbarossa to Pope Alexander III." (1512), begun by Giovanni Bellini, but left unfinished by that artist at his death. The Venetian Senate, which had commissioned the painting, was so pleased with Titian’s performance, that it conferred on him an annual salary of 300 crowns. In 1514, Titian painted "Bacchus and Ariadne," and other paintings of a similar kind, for the Duke of Ferrara, a portrait painting of the Duke himself and the lady who afterwards became his wife, besides a painting of the "Tribute Money." While residing at the court of Ferrara, Titian made the acquaintance ot the poet Ariosta, who sat to him for his portrait. On his return to Venice he painted an "Assumption of the Virgin," one of his grandest achievements in painting. His reputation now rapidly rose. Pope Leo X and Raphael both invited him to Rome, and Francis I to France; but he declined. In 1532, Titian appears to have accompanied Charles to Spain, where he remained for three years, and painted several of his masterpiece paintings, now found in that country. A complete catalogue of Titian paintings does not exist, but the number known is extraordinarily great - upwards of 600 oil paintings. Titian died of the plague in 1576, having attained the extreme age of 99. As already observed, Titian had a tendency at first to reproduce the style of acknowledged masters, but his genius soon emancipated itself from all imitativeness, and displayed a glorious originality and power.