Considered to be one of the most important, influential, and accomplished artists of the Renaissance period, the name of Tiziano Vercelli is perhaps an artist we know very little about.
There are many interesting and unknown facts about Titian for us here in the modern world to learn. So, let’s delve into the mind, the life, and the work of Titian in this list of 10 interesting facts about his life, and learn more about this important Renaissance artist.
1.Lived For Over A Hundred Years
By Titian’s own account, he lived to be over a hundred years old. As an old man already, he wrote in a letter that he was born in the year 1474.
It is known that he passed away on August 27, 1576, which according to Titian’s own writing, he would have been at least 101 when he died. A very long life indeed! Historians often debate the date of his birth, suggesting it may be between 1488 to 1490, but it was generally accepted that he was at least 99 when he died.
The artist received several nicknames during his lifetime, most notably the nickname “da Cadore”. This quite simply talks about his place of birth.
He is “from Cadore”, a province in the northeast of Italy. Other nicknames included “Il Divino” as well as “The Sun Amidst Small Stars”, a collection of nicknames specifically referring to his incredible talent and skills as a painter, the latter a reference to the final line of the famous Dante’s Paradiso.
3.A Friendly Rivalry
During the early period of Titian’s work, he received lots of commissions and met lots of famous artists during his time at a workshop of Bellini.
This friend, named Giorgio de Castelfranco would go on to found the Venetian School of art alongside Titian. Giorgione, as he was nicknamed, would die in 1510 in his early thirties, but during their friendship and rivalry, they managed to take their art to the next level by spurring each other on to the next level.
Although he learned a lot from his master, many believed he had already surpassed Giorgione in his talent, his works, and his artistic prowess.
4.A Renowned Portrait Painter
Early on in his artistic career, Titian began creating portraits of people. One of his earliest works was called A Man with a Quilted Sleeve and this his work has been given much praise.
The praise for this work is despite it is unknown exactly who is being depicted in his work. The painting is currently displayed in the National Gallery in London and was produced by Titian around 1509-1510.
5.His ultimate masterpiece
He became the most renowned artist in Venice in the year 1516 when his master Giovanni Bellini died. It was during this period that he was given a commission for artwork for a church in Venice.
The artist worked on this piece, the Assumption of the Virgin, for over two years before it was given for the altar of the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari for use.
Most notably, the painting depicts three different stories on the one painting, and it’s this work that positioned him as the artistic master for the north of Italy. It was a revolutionary work and the largest altarpiece in all of the Venetian area.
6.A Level Of Admiration
During the early period of his career, he managed to acquire a large amount of fame. Titian’s contemporaries considered him to be on the same level as other well-known artists, the likes of da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, names that even those who don’t know much about art can name.
Compounding on this interesting fact is that Titian regularly received work from important figures of the 16th century, including commissions from Popes and Habsburg rulers too. His clientele, as well as the opinions of his fellows, certainly cement the idea that he and his work were admired in 16th century Italy.
During his long artistic tenure, he would create portraits, religious and mythological artworks as well as landscape art. However, during the last 25 years of his life, Titian became a total perfectionist as he matured further in his age and his career.
Even his previous accomplishments couldn’t escape untouched – works which he had produced 10 years before were retouched and repainted to correct errors that the artist found.
The older Titian was, the worse the criticism he leveled at his own works.
8.A Tomb Decoration For His Own Tomb
Even towards the final stages of his life, Titian’s work didn’t suffer much in its quality, although it did become more and more depressing.
His final work was a dark version of the Pieta, which also quite suitably was designed with the intent to decorate the artist’s tomb at the Venetian Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari.
The artwork’s final resting place is the Gallerie dell’Accademia, where it is displayed and hence is in the list of the Interesting Facts about Titian.
9.Both His Wife And Daughter Died In The Same Manner
Tragically, Titian was faced with several major tragedies during his long life. In the year 1530, Titian’s wife Cecilia died during childbirth, after they had already had two sons together.
Titian eventually remarried, and his second wife Lavinia was often the subject of his paintings.
Together they had a daughter, who suffered the same fate as Titian’s first wife when she got married – his daughter died in childbirth in the year 1560.
10. He created 400 works of art.
Titian produced many works in his lifetime, this is certain. The main count includes at least 400 paintings that were produced by the artist, many of them considered to be masterpieces of the Renaissance era.
Remarkably, almost 500 years later, 300 of these paintings have survived and been looked after and protected to ensure their continuation in the art sphere. One of Titian’s most famous works, Diana and Actaeon, was bought by the National Gallery of London and the National Galleries of Scotland for a huge value of £50 million pounds.
Indeed, some of these works from antiquity have been some of the most valuable paintings sold in our modern world, with the same buyers purchasing another called Diana and Callisto for £45 million pounds.
The lives of artists from our past contain many interesting and unknown facts. Such it is with this list of unknown facts about Titian, an artist from history who is relatively unknown but equally on par with other artistic greats of our past.
It goes to show that we have much to learn about influential figures and much to understand about their minds, their careers, and the art that dominated every aspect of their lives. Also, check out 20 Most Famous Paintings by Titian A few interesting stories