|by Jim Nims
Titian's self-portrait, 1566
Titian was born in a small Italian village near the Austrian border. The date of his birth is unknown but probably around 1490. It appears that in his later life, he loved to stretch the truth about his age in hopes of securing greater commissions. Somewhere around the age of ten, Titian was apprenticed to a mosaic shop. That didn't suit him and he left to study painting under Bellini. From there he moved to the workshop of Giorgione. Giorgione's influence on Titian was so great that several paintings are in dispute as to who actually painted them, Giorgione or Titian.
In 1510, Titian received his first important commission and did three frescoes for a church in Padua. That commission brought him fame and Titian opened his own workshop in Venice in 1513. During his middle years, Titian was noted for his vibrant use of color. That changed in later life to colors so subdued that they seemed not to matter to him. His style also evolved and at one point his early mosaic training came back in the form of bold short brush strokes that resembled mosaic tiles. Besides religious paintings, Titian painted scenes from mythology and was a portrait artist in great demand among the nobility. Titian painted until the end, his last work being intended for his tomb. He died in Venice on 27 August 1576.
St John The Baptist
Chronology of Important Works
1510 - St. Mark Enthroned with Saints
1518 - Assumption of the Virgin
1520 - Madonna in Glory
1526 - Entombment of Christ
1540 - St John the Baptist
Where to Find Titian Art
Most works are located in Europe (Paris, Florence, Madrid and Venice), but the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC does have five paintings, none religious in nature.
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