Friday, October 5, 2012

Tiziano, Vecellio

Bacchus and Ariadne
c. 1523
oil on canvas
176.5 × 191 cm (69.5 × 75.2 in.)
National Gallery, London, UK

Bacchus and Ariadne is one of a cycle of paintings on mythological subjects produced for Alfonso d'Este, the Duke of Ferrara. An advance payment was given to Raphael, who originally held the commission for the subject of a Triumph of Bacchus. At the time of Raphael's death in 1520, only a preliminary drawing was completed and the commission was then handed to Titian. In the case of Bacchus and Ariadne, the subject matter was derived from the Roman poets Catullus and Ovid. This painting is considered as one of Titian's greatest works.

Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio  (ca. 1488 - 1576) known in English as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in the Republic of Venice. During his lifetime he was often called da Cadore, taken from the place of his birth. He received important part of his training in the studio of Giovanni Bellini, then came under the spell of Giorgione, with whom he had a close relationship.

Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars", Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. During the 1530s Titian's fame spread throughout Europe. In 1530 he first met the emperor Charles V in Bologna and painted a famous portrait of him. Charles was so pleased with it that he appointed Titian court painter and elevated him to the rank of Count Palatine and Knight of the Golden Spur - an unprecedented honor for a painter. At the same time his works were increasingly sought after by Italian princes. His influence on later artists has been profound: he was supreme in every branch of painting and revolutionized the oil technique with his free and expressive brushwork. During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in color. Although his mature works may
not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of polychromatic modulations are without precedent in the history of Western art. His painting methods would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.
His greatness as an artist was not matched by his character, for he was notoriously avaricious. In spite of his wealth and status, he claimed he was impoverished, and his exaggerations about his age (by which he hoped to pull at the heartstrings of patrons) are one of the sources of confusion about his birthdate.