Titian Vecellio was born in Venice, Italy, in 1482. Titian went to Venice to study painting at the age of 9 and worked independently after 1510 (Theodore, 1955). When he was young, he worked closely with Giorgione. Titian became the leader of the Venetian School after Giorgione’s death. Titian spent more than 60 years in the area of painting in Renaissance, his works can be found in various countries and has set new artistic styles with brilliant colors and aerobic shapes, he can compete with Michelangelo, Raphael and other artists (Hale, 2012). The influence of his works on European art is extremely far-reaching. The richness of his works makes him unique among Renaissance artists. Titian was appointed as the official painter by the Venice government in 1516 and was received by the Emperor Charles V of Germany in 1530. Since then, he has been painting for the Habsburg dynasty and was awarded the title of Earl. From 1545 to 1546, he toured Rome and met with Michelangelo and won the title of honorary citizen of Rome. From 1548 to 1551 he worked twice in Augsburg, Germany. Throughout his life, the main venue for his activities was always Venice (Kaminski, 1998). His works with brilliant colors also best reflected the life ideals of the civic class in Venice and the humanism of the Renaissance, as well as the spirit of the era of realism. In 1576, the epidemic in Venice claimed the lives of 500,000 people, Titian had unfortunately been contagious and ended his life while nursing his sick son (Marion, 2007). After his death, the Venetian government buried him in a grand ceremonial ceremony in the church decorated with his famous paintings. Titian’s long-term artistic career and rich creative practices also provided the most powerful impetus for the development of the Venetian painting school in the 16th century. Almost all Venetian painters were directly or indirectly influenced and taught by Titian. By the late 16th century, Renaissance art in Florence and Rome had declined, and the Venetian school continued to prosper, including the merit of Titian art.
Sacred and Profane Love
Media: Oil on Canvas
Periods: High Renaissance
Location: Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy
"Sacred and Profane Love" is a work of Titian in his early period, it was painted in around 1515, it typically shows Titian's style of painting, compared with other Venetian artists, Titian's painting history focuses more on the characters themselves (Theodore, 1955). The portrayal of characters occupies the focus of the picture, thus ignoring the plot of the story. This work is his early representative work and reflects his style to a large extent. The focus of Titian's performance in his work is not on the identity of the two, but on the physical beauty of the characters. The naked woman on the right, with stretched body, graceful body, plump bodybuilding shows serenity and tranquility. Compared to Giorgione’s Venus, this female figure seems to have stronger vitality and human atmosphere, and this work is full of more worldly pleasures, splendid passions and imagination.
On the side of the central stone pool, the naked goddess: Venus is talking to a gorgeously dressed woman. The two women who symbolize heaven and earth seem to be talking. This dressed woman is the goddess Medea in Greek mythology. They respectively represent those in heaven and earth, and behind them there is a little love god playing with water. All of these seem to be carried out in a picturesque landscape, with a smooth screen layout, delicate portrayal, and a beautiful and quiet mood. This method of expression is commonplace in the fine art works of the Italian Summer Art Festival. In this narrow and quiet picture, it is filled with an ancient idyllic sentiment. The little angel who symbolizes the love of God is actually a naughty child, he happily plays with the water in the pool and conveys the flavor of life of the human world.
In the Venetian paintings, landscape is very much noticed by painters (Kaminski, 1998). Painters often use more to depict the beautiful scenery of Italy as the background of a picture. The background of this painting is a typical Italian landscape. Crossing the near little trees, it can see the castle on the far left and the tip of the medieval church on the side of the river on the right. The layout of the screen is smooth, the mood is quiet and natural, giving people visual and spiritual comfort. This kind of processing precisely reflects the profound and meticulousness of the painter, and contains a wealth of space for thinking and imagination. The entire work is full of ancient pastoral style, with a strong lyric poetic mood, it is a more vivid display of Titian's originality. Titian affirms the beauty of life here and uses symbolic techniques to express the artist's own praise and yearning for human happiness and heavenly paradise. Many of the painting's methods of coloring and composition were learned from his brother-in-law and teacher painter: Giorgione. At the time, the painters still could not live without myth or religious themes, but Titian tried to get rid of them and try not to illustrate the myth. The Venus image here is just a symbol of the beauty of life.
"Sacred and Profane Love" is the work of Titian at the age of 25. Titian's superb use of color skills is reflected in this picture incisively and vividly. Medea dressed with white blue dress, coupled with bright red sleeves, avoids the dullness of the colors, making the character seem very charming. Dazzling, warm brown dresses set off Aphrodite’s beige arm, making the picture balanced and stable. The tone of the entire picture is soft and strong. The characters in the painting interact with the surrounding trees, the sunset and the colored clouds, which together achieve the true and imaginary artistic effects. This painting embodies the exquisite technique of Titian as an important member of the Venetian school. In the history of painting, it is said that the color used is the color of "Titian." In the Venice school of painting, Titian had the strongest influence on the younger generation. All the outstanding painters are influenced by Titian in a certain degree. Venetian school advocates color, and Titian's color expressiveness has reached the top of this school. Judging from the Venetian view, everything in nature is not divided by lines. Everything is blended together in fog. This is the characteristic of Venice's scenery.
Meaning and Purpose
Titian's early creative activities began in the early 16th century (Marion, 2007). Titian's early creations were not concerned with specific storyline, and focused on the performance of people's abundance and health, and gave people an aesthetically pleasing experience. This is a common feature of the great masters, especially the Venetian school in the Venetian renaissance era, Titian exerted this artistic characteristic to the extreme, that is, to arouse people's lofty sentiments through showing the beauty of human body and the beauty of the nature. It fully embodies the realistic style of humanism in the renaissance movement. Viewing the painting "Sacred and Profane Love" does not requires understanding of the story, but lies in understanding of the harmonious and elegant beauty it embodies. It gives people a sense of comfort in spirit and vision, and it also expresses the author's tribute to a better life. Titian fully demonstrated the beauty of human body and the beauty of the nature in his works. This is a significant step forward in breaking through the shackles of asceticism in medieval churches and making art oriented to real life.
Dimensions: 175 cm × 193 cm
Media: Oil on Canvas
Periods: High Renaissance
Location: Museo del Prado, Madrid
The picture of “The Bacchanal of the Andrians” depicts the small island of Andros in the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, the residents indulge in carnival, drink and enjoy music, talk love and dance to celebrate the Bacchanal. The residents of the carnival in the picture are of different shapes: the two lying women on the front whispers, one is ridiculously mysterious and the other is wide-eyed, while holding up the glass in her hands and catching wine poured by a naked person for her; next to them, there is a toddler child, drunkenly lowering his head and staggering; a white woman behind them, her hair is flying, and her face is red, each of her hands are involved in a man, she is with drunk eyes, blurred, whispered, her thighs in flying skirts make her increasingly charming; on the hillside in the distance, a gray-haired old man is lying and naked in the sun, stretching out legs, at ease.
The most noteworthy one should be the woman who is supine on the bottom right of the screen. A beautiful, naked, beautiful woman with her head tilted backwards, her arms are hanging behind her back, her head and legs stretch. This woman's modality and charm resemble the image of Goddess in Giorgione's Sleeping Venus. Reclining woman body is not only the need for composition of the picture, but also the inheritance and development of Giorgione's female body painting style. For later generations of painters, it established a model for this position.
The blue sky and white clouds in the background of the screen have extended the entire sky to a vast and far-reaching extent, which has increased the level of the picture and enhanced the depth of the entire picture. In the depiction of the landscape, Titian used a rich contrast of cool and warm tones to show poetic and imaginative qualities. In picture of “The Bacchanal of the Andrians”, Titian uses bold colors, rich colors and brilliant colors. Such an expressive hue rhythm reflects the passion and lively atmosphere of the carnival crowd.
The figures in the painting are fierce and muscular, and the more rigorous composition reflects the influence of classicism, but it does not completely use it as the essence of painting. Titian showed bodybuilding and vitality to viewers, instead of simply praised religion, here it represented the embodiment of human freedom. In other words, “The Bacchanal of the Andrians” can be said to be a naked pagan painting. The carnival figures in the painting surpass the standard of daily life. The author pushed the spirit of a rebellious spirit to the top.
In addition to Giorgione, Raphael has a major impact on the characteristics of Titian's creation (Hale, 2012). In “The Bacchanal of the Andrians”, in addition to Giorgione's luxurious and beautiful charm, Raphael's beautiful, mellow and soft style is also vague. Titian's early works were deeply influenced by Raphael. His paintings of flower god used noble and dignified posture, graceful elegance, inherited the delicate and feminine features of Raphael. In the painting of “The Bacchanal of the Andrians”, although Titian's passionate and personal features are more displayed, viewers can still see the artist's tribute to Raphael in the handling and control of specific details. The most obvious is the artist's handling of the reclining woman's body at the foot of the frame. The relaxed Roman-style underwear of the woman is open and reveals a plump chest. The golden hair is scattered behind the rounded shoulders, giving the body a youthful dynamism, which is full of elegance.
Meaning and Purpose
Roughly in the 1520s-1540s, it was often considered to be the most typical stage of Titian’s art (Marion, 2007). Titian improved his artistic style during this period. During this period, the people he created were cheerful, joyful and peaceful. The image was healthy and beautiful. Its composition was novel, and the colors were beautiful and strong. Titian’s works of this period have hedonic tendencies, but this is not the mainstream and nature of his art. The mainstream of Titian’s art lies in praising people's spirit and human inner beauty. Titian showed the feminine beauty of the naked beauty in “The Bacchanal of the Andrians”. His work continues Italians' concept of expressing love with good use of sex (Theodore, 1955). This is not to say that their understanding of love is superficial. On the contrary, their creation emphasizes the spiritual nature of love. Any description of sex is only an externalized form. As a work with a distinctive painting style and a certain degree of creative difficulty, “The Bacchanal of the Andrians” can be regarded as a good painting.
Titian’s artistic achievements made him a master of the Venetian painting school. I recognized the humanism and realism reflected in Titian’s paintings, as well as his own unique painting techniques and styles. He had a great influence on the continued development of the Renaissance movement. Titian paid more attention to the use of colors. Of course, this was his biggest feature. However, Titian did not pay much attention to the use of sketch and lines in his paintings. Therefore, there are certain deficiencies in certain aspects of his painting, such as the symmetrical, balanced and harmonious of composition, according to certain standard, but this does not affect him as one of the most outstanding painters in history.
Hale, S. (2012). Titian: His Life. New York: Harper.
Kaminski, M. (1998). Tiziano Vecellio, known as Titian. New York: Konemann.
Marion, K. (2007). Tiziano Vecellio, Know as Titian: 1488/1490-1576. Germany: H. F. Ullmann.
Theodore, R. (1955). Titian (Tiziano Vecellio). London: Thames & Hudson.