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

Renaissance Gallery,

Gallery 39, First Floor


Focus on the Object

The Subject - Giacomo Doria

The inscription on the base of the column and the coat of arms at the top left hand side of the painting indentify the sitter as Giacomo Doria, who was younger brother of the Doge of Genoa, Giovanni Battista Doria. Giacomo was a Genoese merchant who was resident in Venice by 1525.

As Titian was usually a painter of kings and noblemen, Giacomo Doria must have been of fairly high standing to have sat for such a great artist. Clues to his social status are expressed in the painting through his expensive black costume and through the inclusion of a veined marble column, suggesting wealth and nobility.


The great strength of this work lies in the use of near monochrome colours, making the details of the face and hands all the more striking. Note the controlled foreshortening of the thumb, the finely executed facial features and the noble yet thoughtful gaze of the sitter which gives the painting psychological depth.

Although nearly monochrome, the black robes are delineated against the subtly contrasting background and you can see carefully painted folds as well as a knot in the waistband, all accentuated through the use of reflected light. The careful precision of the facial features also contrasts with the rougher, faster brushwork of the white cuff.