Titian is considered one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance, his mastery of playing around with colors is legendary. Everyone from Pope Paul III, King Philip II of Spain to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was enamored with the artist’s works. Titian was affectionately referred to as ‘the sun amidst small stars’ by his contemporaries, so different and unique was his work that fellow artists couldn’t help but admire and respect it. The ‘sun amidst small stars’ basically refers to how his work stood out amongst the rest of the great artists; this was down to his versatility as an artist.
Born around 1485 as Tiziano Vecelli, near Pieve di Cadore in Venice, another name Titian garnered for him was da Cadore in respect to where he was born. Due to the early time frame not much is known about Titian’s early life except that he was introduced to the world of art at a tender age of ten. During his teenage years Titian went on to work with a great artist, Giorgione, who had a profound impact on his love for art. Titian’s work graces some of the most affluent places in the world, from the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia, National Art Gallery in London, National Galleries in Scotland and the Louvre Paris to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Titian was one of the very few painters who were adept at everything from portraits, to landscapes, to mythological and religious subjects; he was perhaps the most versatile painter in the art world. The way he used colors and gave them life would go on to have a strong impact on not only other Italian Renaissance painters but on future artists of Western painting.
No doubt versatile, it was Titian’s landscapes that really put him on the map and gained him a reputation. As evident in his works Landscape with Goat, Two Satyrs in a Landscape there is a very haunting approach to his paintings. From the mythical creature to the religious subject matter, there is a very lush background in both works which breathe life into Titian’s paintings. Amongst the portraits Titian did, the most famous ones are those Pope Paul III and his grandsons – Titians was hired to paint for the Pope and his family, an honor bestowed on just a few great artists. Even Charles V stated that no one would paint him except Titian. His portraits have a strong essence of melancholy associated with them, something Titian excelled at. His work centered more on capturing the subject matters mood rather than showing them in a fictionist manner, while at the same time one got the know the importance of the subject matters position and status.
Titians was also heavily influenced by Literature in his later years, most of his paintings depicted works of art inspired by whatever literature he happened to be reading at the time. For instance, in his work Bacchus and Ariadne, Titian has depicted both lover and muse in a crystalline form taken out from an excerpt in the text. Titian’s home in Venice became a refuge for many budding artists, who learned and savored whatever he could tell them. It is said that Titians inspired generations and generations of artists including Rembrandt, Peter Paul Rubens, and Diego Velázquez to name a few.