Tiziano Vecellio's Art Style and the Italian Renaissance

Modified: 3rd May 2018
Wordcount: 1387 words
Arts Student

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In history, art has changed frequently. With new concepts and experimental ways, the new art forms slowly become accepted by society, while the previous techniques fade into the background; however, the old techniques are not forgotten. Within every era, the new techniques that come from the creative minds and their ideas, have established more from the inspiration of old skills, like the change from Renaissance to Mannerism; this lead to the furthering of different art styles in the future generations.

Background info on genre, time period and country of origin

The Italian Renaissance was the arising point of modern age. The period stretched from 1400 to 1550, originating from Florence, Italy. It was the revival of scientific and artistic innovations. It was also the revitalization of Greek and Roman learning. This essential time period linked the relation of the middle ages to the modern age.

The Italian Renaissance was split into two phases, the Early Renaissance and the High Renaissance. The High Renaissance, at the climax of Renaissance art from 1500 to 1525, was the result of the culmination of the different artistic progression of the Early Renaissance. During the 1520s of the Italian Renaissance, High Renaissance was exaggerated to Mannerism. The High Renaissance was an era that brought total creative genius to the world in history.

Characterisitcs of art being done during that time and mediums used

The changes in art during the Italian Renaissance were clearly seen in paintings and sculptures. While the artists continued to use religious subject matter, they combined the idea with the principles of the human figure and the appeal in depicting nature. Artists began experimenting with their paintings by using oil-based paints, which were workable for several months due to the slow drying pace of the paints. The “fresco technique”, developed during the Italian Renaissance and used by artists like Michelangelo, involved painting on plasters walls. Light and perspective was familiarized to give a sense of reality through three-dimensional imagery. Artists gained new insight and techniques to their concept of space and form in the Italian Renaissance, which has thus changed art forever.

Background info on artist

Tiziano Vecellio, also more famously known as Titian, was one of the greatest artists of the High Rennaissance. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, Italy. The year of his birth is highly disputed between scholars, but it is believed to be between 1477 and 1488. As a young boy, he was an apprentice to Giovanni Bellinni, another outstanding painter in Italy at the time. In 1508, the now young independent painter, Titian, joined the Venetian painter, Giorgione to beautify the facade of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Titian’s work was mistaken as a new and improved style of Giorgione. The teamwork between the two artists led to more art collaboration; together, they explored oil painting techniques, by ways like directly applying an undiluted medium on the canvas.

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At the death of Giovanni Bellini in 1516, it left Titian with no adversary in Venice, which let him receive his old master’s job as the official painter to the Republic. His first major public commission was the Assumption of the Virgin which was painted for the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. In 1533, he was appointed as the court painter of Charles V, the most powerful man of the century, being Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the King of Spain. In 1548, he spent nine months in Augsburg with the Imperial Court. After half a decade, he commences a series of “poesie” for Phillip II in 1554.

Although Titian was not a man of much education, he was one of great talent. Titian was an elegant and charming man who was also attractive and interesting in conversation, which made it easy for him to build relationships and connections with powerful people. Over the span of twenty years, Titian created relationships and connections with princely patronage, while continuing work for other Venetian churches.

As he grew older, his eyesight worsened and his hand control was weakening. Unfortunately, during a plague outbreak, Titian died, on August 27, 1576, as a rich and famous man. He was interred into the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. His universal reputation continues to be known to this modern day.

Styles and techniques used by artist

Titian was an infamous Venetian painter during the High Renaissance. He was known for his bright rich colours and his bold brush work. The bold use of colour and the lush sumptuous layers were the result of much preparation, the medium used and the surface chosen. Mythological paintings, religious paintings, portraits, and churches were just some of the works he accomplished. His artwork should be viewed from a distance to get the as it was desired to be seen. Much of his skills were influenced by Giorgione, where he improved his style with new elements and perfection. From 1530 to 1550, his approach and style became more and more dramatic. The unique practices Titian painted with combined with his great talent were what made him an amazing painter.

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As Titian matured as an artist, he had as specific methods to his paintings. First, he sketched his pictures with loads of colour that forms the groundwork of the work of art. For up to several months, without looking, he left his composition facing a wall. He then returned to them to build up figures, make changes, and correct any wrongs. When retouching his working, he dealt with highlights by harmonizing colours and tones by rubbing the composition with his fingers. An alternate way was by adding strokes and bright spots with his fingers to perfect his work. As he grew older, he began to paint with his fingers more. He believed that “It is not bright colors but good drawing that makes figures beautiful.”

Detailed analysis of artwork

Titian’s masterpiece, Bacchanal of the Andrians, shows that it is a complete success through design elements. The composition of the work of art is arranged with the human figures spread out evenly across the horizontal span of the canvas. The colours involved are rich and bold; they are not too bright to be overtaking the whole piece. The harmonic bond between the tones and colour that is used by Titian is infamous. The contrast in colour between the two sides balances each other out. The contrast in colour in the dress of the dancing couple compared to the rest of the drinking people, bring it out two a secondary focal point. With naked woman in the corner as the focal point, it brings the eyes throughout the painting, from the focal point to the dancing couple to the other people.

Bachannal of the Adrians seems to be interpreting a message of celebration. This may be the possibility of a marriage due to the dancing couple in bolder colours and the amount of activities (drinking, partying, and sheet music) involved. However, these actions could also indicate a celebration due to the homecoming of an important person.

The characters involved in the work of art have great meaning too. The woman in the white dress may represent innocence; the other ladies may represent vulnerability and jealousy as seen from their positioning and facial emotions. The nude men surrounding the other women may represent lust and want, as they are in some way in contact, physically or optically, to the women.


New art techniques were and still are developed through time. Titian, one of the greatest artists of the high Renaissance, was one who established new skills and techniques from others through his life that inspired others to create more throughout history. There are many steps involved in art to fuel to this advancement. According to Titian, “Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind.”



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