Titian (actually Titiano Vecellio, probably * c. 1488 in Pieve di Cadore near Belluno, then the county of Cadore; † 27 August 1576 in Venice) is considered the leading exponent of 16th-century Venetian painting and one of the principal masters of the Italian High Renaissance. During his lifetime he was often named after his birthplace Da Cadore.
Recognized by his contemporaries as "The Sun Amidst Small Stars" (recalling the final line of Dante's Paradiso), Titian was one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of colour, exercised a profound influence not only on painters of the late Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.
His career was successful from the start, and he became sought after by patrons, initially from Venice and its possessions, then joined by the north Italian princes, and finally the Habsburgs and papacy. Along with Giorgione, he is considered a founder of the Venetian School of Italian Renaissance painting.
During the course of his long life, Titian's artistic manner changed drastically, but he retained a lifelong interest in colour. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone were without precedent in the history of Western painting.
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32 | The Venus of Urbino (Die Venus von Urbino), 1534
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