Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576) known in English as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters.
Titian's masterpiece Diana and Callisto has been saved for the nation in a £45 million deal. The oil painting, one of a series of six created for King Philip II of Spain in the 16th century, was bought after a fundraising campaign which saw the National Gallery in London pledge £25 million towards the cost of keeping it in the country.
These three painters [Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese] were to rub shoulders for over thirty years, and after Titian’s death in 1576, the other two would continue their mutual confrontation for another dozen years. Though rivals, they also influenced and inspired one another. For each artist, the others’ work was a stimulus that demanded a response.
According to The Technique of Painting by Hilaire Hiler, Titian used the following colors in his palettes: natural ultramarine (lapis lazuli), yellow ochre, vermilion, red ochre, lead white and black.
Tiziano Vecellio, or Vecelli the greatest Italian Renaissance painter of the Venetian school. He was recognized early in his own lifetime as a supremely great painter, and his reputation has in the intervening centuries never suffered adecline. In 1590 the art theorist Giovanni Lomazzo declared him "the sun amidst small stars not only among the Italians but all the painters of the world."
Tiziano's work is very complex, with mural decorations, portraits, religious and mythological themes (called poetries because of the lyrical focus on sensual scenes). Not many masters have reached so harmonic balance in shapes, light and colour. His influence was really important not only in Venice but in every country painters for a long time.
In 1538, [Titian] painted Venus of Urbino. She is naked, lying on the chaise in a sensual position, with a small dog on the floor next to it. [...] This painting would inspire so much art in the future. Ingres thought this work was one of the best ever created, and made Grande Odalisque. [...] Éduard Manet loved it so much, he used the same idea in Olympia, only the woman was a prostitute in his piece, and she had a cat next to her.
Titian was a man of correct features and handsome person, with an uncommon air of penetrating observation and self-possessed composure—a Venetian presence worthy to pair with any of those “most potent, grave and reverend signors” whom his pencil has transmitted to posterity. He was highly distinguished, courteous and winning in society, personally unassuming, and a fine speaker, enjoying (as is said by Vasari, who saw him in the spring of 1566) health and prosperity unequalled.
The first work 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.
In this domain [of portrait painting] also [Titian] had begun as a lyrical artist, and had created portraits full of deep feeling, to which he seems to have imparted as much of his own soul as possible.
Born at the moment when the art of Printing was giving a new birth to letters, he grew with the growth of hum thought. The spirit of man newly freed was casting off, perhaps too entirely, the fetters of superstition; religious art with its formal fancies was dying, and Literature reviving before Titian had hardly become a man.
No one was quite sure how old Titian was. He'd confused the issue so much - exaggerating his age to gain sympathy and respect of his clients, just as he'd endlessly pleaded poverty despite his great wealth. But he must have been i his late eighties, at the very least - twice the average life expectancy of a man in sixteenth-century Italy[, when he died.]
The year 1510 also saw the commissioning of Titian's frescoes for the Confraternity (Scuola) of Saint Anthony of Padua. These revolutionary works, the first which can be dated with certainty to the artist's hand, were a result of what Titian had learned from both Bellini and Giorgione. But more importantly, they embodied many of the elements of an idiom which was to become a cornerstone in the history of European art.
…after Titian had transformed himself by means of Giorgione's style, no difference at all could be perceived between the two. As a result, many portraits are identified with some confusion and no distinction, now as the work of one, now as the work of the other…
David Rosand, stating that 'Titian… established a most obvious link between painting and poetry.. he conceived of his compositions as poetry in paint', thought it 'probabe that the poesy, as an evocative pictorial genre, developed especially in Venice around 1500...'