Musée No:656.007

Musée No:656.007

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Portrait of Giacomo di Andrea Dolfin

Artist: Titian

Date: ca. 1531

Tiziano Vecelli, (c. 1488 – 1576), known in English as Titian, was an Italian painter during the Renaissance, and is considered to be the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school.  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 as gifted at 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 considerably 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. During the last twenty-six years of his life (1550–1576), Titian worked mainly for Philip II and as a portrait-painter. He became more self-critical, an insatiable perfectionist, keeping some pictures in his studio for ten years—returning to them and retouching them, constantly adding new expressions at once more refined, concise, and subtle. He also finished many copies that his pupils made of his earlier works. This caused problems of attribution and priority among versions of his works—which were also widely copied and faked outside his studio during his lifetime and afterwards.

The sitter : Jacopo Dolfin was an ambassador and politician of the Republic of Venice. In this work, attributed to Titian, he has a long beard according to the fashion of the day. On his left hand, which protrudes under the heavy sleeve, he has a ring which certifies his high social status.


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