Titian Vecelli bigraphy, stories - An Italian artist of Renaissance

Titian Vecelli : biography

1488 - 27 August 1576

At the end of fifteen century, in an Italian town Pieve di Cadore near Venice one of the greatest painters of Renaissance Titian was born. Biographers haven’t managed to find out the exact date of his birth, but it is known that the artist was born in a period between 1476 and 1490 years. According to his own letters, it was 1477 year, but many historians are inclined to believe it was 1488.

His parents’ family, Gregorio and Lucci Vecelli, was not only well-to-do, but also noble, its genealogy can be retraced back for two hundred and fifty years before Titian was born. The artist’s father was a head of people’s volunteer corps for some time and then worked as an inspector of mines, where ore was produced. There were four children in Vecelli’s family – two sons and two daughters. History hasn’t saved information about their education – it can be said for certain that Titian couldn’t read Latin, which was a sign of well-educated people at that time. His letters were written as dictated by him. But these shortcomimgs of education didn’t prevent him from being friends with a poet Pietro Aretino and other literary men, and contemporaries told about the painter’s communicability and manners.

Nearly in 1500 father sent Titian and younger brother Francesco to Venice to learn the art of painting. Apparently, Titian studied at Sebastian Dzucatto, than he called Gentille Bellini his teacher, and finally he became a pupil of Gentille’s brother Giovanni Bellini, who was a very talented painter and teacher and brought up several generations of Venice masters.

In Giovanni Bellini’s studio Titian made friends with Giorgio da Castelfranco – a painter, who was known as Giorgione. They became organizers of professional painters’ society, and in 1507 Giorgione, who was several years elder than Titian, opened his own studio. A year later Titian and Giorgione together painted façade of German merchants’ house Fondaco dei Tedeschi, but these outward frescos practically didn’t remain till nowadays.

Painters’ friendship wasn’t long – in 1510 Giorgione died because of the plague. According to speculations, Titian finished several unaccomplished paintings of Giorgione and without any doubt he was under Giorgione’s influence for several years after his death. In many early works of Titan motifs of elder friend’s paintings can be discovered – idyllic representation of nature, softness of intonations. But in 1511 Titan made frescos for Padua’s oratorio Scuola del Santo for topic of Saint Antonio, and in these works his own monumental style is clearly seen. In a painting “Sacred and Profane Love”, which was painted in 1514, lyrics and idyll were finally replaced by festive colours and sensuality – it was the first Titian’s work, which clearly showed originality of his artwork.

In 1513 a cardinal Pietro Bembo, a famous humanist and Rafaello Santi’s friend, became a secretary of the Roman Pope Leo X and invited Titian to work for his patron, but the artist refused this flattening offer. By that time Titian had opened his own studio and hired two assistants, besides, his only competitor in Venice was Giovanni Bellini. In 1516 Bellini died, and Titian became a leading painter in the republic, and in 1517 he got a privilege to paint doge’s portrait and governmental payment – two hundred ducats a year. The artist confirmed his reputation, when in 1518 he finished a two-year work of altar image “Assunta” (or “Maria’s Ascention”) for Santa Maria Dei Frari – A Venice church.

Titian’s influential patron became Alfonso I d’Esta, Ferrara’s duke, who ordered several mythological paintings. In 1518 Titian created “Oblations to Venera”, in the next year – “Bacchanalia”, and in 1523 “Bacchus and Ariadna” – huge many-figured compositions with tense dynamics. He also painted duke’s portrait and many noble families were interested in his style, that’s why the artist got excess to high society.

At these years Titian was working on polyptych, which was ordered by bishop Averoldo for a church in town Brescia. Contemporaries were especially surprised with a figure of Saint Sebastian – in its picture, as in the whole polyptych, which consisted of five parts, Titian used effects of night illumination, difficult language of poses and angles, movements and gestures.

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