Portrait of Giacomo Doria
Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian (c.1485-90 to 1576)

Renaissance Gallery,
Gallery 39, First Floor


History - About Titian

Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, was born in Cadore in the Dolomites in Northern Italy c. 1485-90. He went to Venice where he was briefly apprenticed to Giovanni Bellini and worked as an assistant to Giorgione.

His talent ensured a meteoric rise and, from the 1520s, he became the most renowned portrait painter of the age. His sitters included men of the highest rank, such as Emperor Charles V, Pope Paul III, Philip II of Spain and numerous Doges of Venice. He had the ability to capture both the physical features and also the inner nobility and vitality of the sitter.

Titian was the greatest Venetian painter of all, whose name was synonymous, even in his own lifetime, with the sensuous handling of paint and the magical use of colour. He was in great demand in Venice and the north of Italy as a painter of altarpieces and devotional works and of mythological subjects for a courtly setting. From the 1540s he worked almost entirely for the Hapsburg court, and his pictures could be admired in Vienna, Brussels and, above all, in Madrid. Titian was a highly original artist whose dynamic energy in painting was to have a major impact on European art. His works directly inspired the great Baroque artists Velasquez, Rubens and Van Dyck and the later spread of portraiture into Northern Europe and England.