Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio (c. 1488-90 – 27 August 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory, near Belluno (Veneto), in Italy, and died in Venice. Many official letters of Titian were written by Aretino, between 1527-1556. From 1556 it was Verdizotti (one of his pupils) who did many secretarial services for Titian.
- 1 Quotes of Titian
- 2 Quotes about Titian
- 3 External links
Quotes of Titian
- I, Titian of Cadore, having studied painting from childhood upwards, and desirous of fame rather than profit, wish to serve the Doge and Signori, rather than his Highness the Pope and other Signori, who in past days, and even now, have urgently asked to employ me: I am therefore anxious, if it should appear feasible, to paint in the Hall of Council, beginning, if it please their sublimity, with the canvas of 'The Battle' on the side towards the Piazza, which is so difficult that no one as yet has had courage to attempt it...
- from a petition presented by Titian, and read on the 31st of May, 1513, before the Council of ten of Venice; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 153-154
- The chiefs of the Council on the day in question accepted Titian's offer. Sharp monitions reminded him in 1518, 1522 and 1537 that he should complete 'The Battle', he did not until 1539
- Your Excellency, I went without delay to the well of which Y. E. had written, and made a sketch of it, from which Y. E. will see how the matter stands; but I wish that sketch not to go alone, so send another with it of a well after the fashion of this country. Should these drawings appear to have been done in a manner not agreeable to the greatness of your illustrious Signorina, or in accordance with my humble desire to serve Y. E., I hope to be excused; and that Y. E. will ascribe, the cause to an earnest longing that the work should be done rapidly. I am entirely at command should the drawings be considered unsatisfactory, and am ready to furnish others...
- In a letter to the Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, From Venice, Feb. 19, 1517; from the original in Marquis Campori's Tiziano e gli Estensi, p. 5; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account ..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 178-79
- Most Illustrious Lord and My Lord, I received the other day, with due reverence your Lordship's letter, together with the canvas and framing. Having read and noted the contents, I considered them so pretty and ingenious as to require no improvement of any kind; and the more I thought over it the more I became convinced that the greatness of art amongst the ancients was due to the assistance they received from great princes content to leave to the painters the credit and renown derived from their own ingenuity in bespeaking pictures. Can I therefore doubt that, if God enables me to satisfy in any part the wishes of Your Lordship, I shall have all credit for my labour? Yet I shall, after all have done no more than give shape to that which received its spirit — the most essential part — from Your Excellency.
- In a letter to the Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, From Venice, April 1, 1518; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account ..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 181-82
- Excellent Lord: —Knowing your Excellency's love for painting and your passion for protecting it as shown in the patronage of Ginlio Eomano; —being further desirous of pleasing your Excellency, —I have taken the opportunity of Messer Pietro Aretino's arrival [in Venice] to paint his likeness, and as he comes — a second St. Paul —to preach the virtues of your Excellency, and I likewise know that you are fond of so faithful a servant because of his many virtues, I make you herewith a present of his portrait. But I also bear in remembrance the Signor Girolamo Adorno who adored the Marquis of Mantua, and as he was a qualified gentleman, I send your Excellency a present of him also. These may not be gifts worthy of so great a person as your Excellency.. ..Most devoted servant, Titiano Vecellio.
- In a letter of Titian, to the Marquess Gonzaga of Mantua, from Venice 22 Juin 1527; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 317
- Assuredly Titian at this time had Messer Pietro Aretino for a sitter; this letter proves his intimacy with the secretary of Giovanni de Medici
- I have been expecting the bull of the benefice of Medole which your Excellency gave me for my son Pomponio last year, and seeing that the matter is delayed beyond measure, and what is worse, that I have not received the income of the benefice — I find myself in a state of great discontent. It would be greatly to my dishonour and infamy, if my boy should be forced to change the priest's dress, which he wears with so much pleasure, after all Venice has been made acquainted with the gift made to him of this benefice by your Excellency.
- In a letter of Titian to the Marquess Gonzaga of Mantua, from Venice, 12 July, 1531; published by Pungileoni in the 'Giornale Arcadico' in 1831 and reprinted in Cadorin, 'Dello Amore', p. 37; transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- The gift made it possible that his son Pomponio could start a career in the catholic church. A fortnight later Titian's note has become humble and thankful, for the Duke has written him, to say that the benefice and its income are his
- Illustrious Lord, hearing that your Excellency has gone to the court of his Imperial Majesty [Charles V], I abstain from coming to Mantua, sighing at my bad fortune in not having left Bologna soon enough to meet your Grace. At Venice I shall prepare the copy of the portrait of his Majesty, which I take home with me at your Excellency's bidding.
- In a letter to the Duke of Mantua, from Bologna, 10 March 1533; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 370
- The portrait which Titian took home and repeated a second time he doubtless sent to Charles V. The replica was not sent to Mantua till after 1536, but there it appears to have remained. Another example besides that of the Madrid Museum came into the hands of Charles the First of England.
- ..I kissed the hand of Don Alvise Davila, who said he was your friend, and begged me to tell you he would soon prove it. I would have done the same by Signor Antonio da Leva, but that there was no time. He came to see the Emperor [Charles V], and only staid half a day, and there were so many visitors that I could not kiss his hand. But should we meet I shall do my duty, and attend to your interests without regard to the consequences. No more on this head. Here nothing is heard but the roll of drums, and everyone is starting for France. I hope soon to be with you, when we shall have much to say to each other. Bas las manos a vuestra merced and also those of Alvise Anichini.
- In a letter to his friend and agent Pietro Aretino, From Asti, 31 May, 1536; in Lettere a Pietro Aretino, i. p. 146 and reprinted in Ticozzi (Vecelli, p. 309); transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- At Asti, it would seem, Titian was quite in Spanish waters. He doubtless met and perhaps again portrayed the Emperor Charles V.
- Most Illustrious, &c,— It was not necessary for your Excellency to remind me by letter or the gift of a rich cassock of the pictures, which I have altogether at heart, knowing as I do under what obligation I am for many kindnesses.. ..Many days have passed since I gave one of the pictures to the ambassador to send to your Excellency. Five others are in a fair way, which I shall finish on hearing that the first was satisfactory, or the reverse, regulating my work accordingly. And so I shall proceed by degrees to the end, when I shall hope to have well served your Excellency. In the meantime, it would be a great favour to me if your Excellency would liberate my benefice from the pension payable upon it, which, besides causing me a loss in money which I pay out yearly, creates not a little trouble and disturbance because of the persons with whom I am pestered, out of whose hands your Excellency alone can save me. I beg, I supplicate your Excellency to do this.. ..which alone would suffice to make me your Excellency's perpetual slave.
- In a letter to the Duke of Mantua, from Venice, 6 April 1537; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 421
- Your Ceasarean Majesty, I consigned to senõr Don Diego di Mendoza, the two portraits of the most serene Empress [ Isabella ] , in which I have used all the diligence of which I was capable. I should have liked to take them to your Majesty in person, but that my age and the length of the journey forbade such a course. I beg your Majesty to send me words of the faults or failings which I may have made, and return the pictures that I may correct them. Your Majesty may not permit anyone else to lay hand on them.. ..Your Majesty’s most humble and constant servant, Titiano.
- In a letter to Emperor Charles V, from Venice, 5 Oct, 1544; copied in the 'Archives of Simancas' by Mr. Bergenroth; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account... Volume II, publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 103
- This letter is written by Titian himself - free from the polite style of his secretary/friend Arentino; he is telling the Emperor that he had finished two portraits of the Empress Isabella, he painted after her death after a probably Flemish original. The two portraits were sent to the court in Brussels.
- I have an action pending before the Legate [Titian's friend, Giovanni della Casa ] here against the brothers of [the church] San Spirito of whom I hear they mean to tire me out by delays. Their purpose is to obtain a commission or brief, by which my cause shall be transferred to another judge, who is their friend. I beg your Reverend Lordship, in remembrance of my services and in view of the importance of the case to give Monsignor Guiddicioni to understand that he may not pass anything contrary to me, but trust to the goodness and sufficiency of Monsignor the Legate [Titian's friend] so that the brothers shall not have it in their power to ill-use me and create delays contrary to duty and justice; the matter being public at Venice where everyone knows that these brethren are old and certain debtors to me for my works.
- In a letter to Cardinale Farnese, Venice, 11 Dec. 1544, taken from the original in Ronchini's Relazioni, u. s., note to p. 6
- The canon of the church San Spirito had refused the commissioned paintings, Titian was painting there. So he claims in this letter countenance and protection by the cardinal
- Titian's remark to Francesco Vargas, the Spanish envoy, c. 1545; in Vicus, De studiorum ratione, u. s. p. 109; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 115
- I should be acting the part of an ungrateful servant, unworthy of the favours which unite my duty to your great kindness, if I were not to say that his Majesty [ Charles V ] forced me to go to him and pays the expenses of my journey, I start discontented because I have not fulfilled your wish and my obligation in presenting myself to my Lord [ Pope Paul III ] and yours, and working in obedience to his intentions [to paint the Pope's portrait].. ..But I promise as a true servant to pay interest on my return with a new picture in addition to the first.. ..So with your license, Padron mio unico, I shall go, whither I am called, and returning with the grace of God, I shall serve you with all the strength of the talents which I got from my cradle...
- In a letter to Cardinal Farnese in Rome, from Venice 24th December 1547; after the original in Rochini's 'Belazione' u.s. pp. 9-10; as quoted in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2., J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, pp. 164-165
- Titian had to chose between Pope & Emperor when they were on the worst of terms; he decided to obey the Emperor Charles V who ordered Titian to come to his court at Augsburg, Germany
- Most serene and Powerful King [Ferdinand], most Clement Lord,.. ..The portraits of the serene daughters of your Majesty will be done in two days, and I shall take them to Venice, whence – having finished them with all diligence – I shall send them quickly to your Majesty. As soon as your Majesty has seen them, I am convinced I shall receive much greater favours than those which have been previously done me, and so I recommend myself humbly to your Majesty. – Your Majesty's faithful servant, Titiano
- In a letter to King Ferdinand, from Innsbruck, 20th Oct 1548; original in the 'Appendix' in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2., J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 189
- The king's daughters were nine and five years old, and a young baby in long clothes; the preparatory work of the paintings was probably done by Cesare Vecelli. Titian's share in these portraits was very slight; he added only a very little to the heads
- His Majesty [emperor Charles V] , [in his court in Augsburg] sent for me. After the usual courtesies and examination of the pictures which I have brought, he asked for news of you.. ..I replied that at Venice, in Rome and in all Italy the public assumed that his Holiness [the new Pope], was well minded to make you ..[Cardinal] upon which Caesar [= Charles V] showed signs of pleasure in his face, saying he would greatly rejoice at such an event, which could not fail to please you, and so, dear brother [= close friend], I have done for you such service as I owe to a friend of your standing.. ..not a day passes but the Duke of Alva speaks to me of the 'divine Aretini', because he loves you so much...
- In a letter to his friend Pietro Aretino in Venice, sent from Augsburg, 11 Nov. 1550, the original is in Lettere a P. Aretino' u.s. i. p. 147; as quoted in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 198
- Most high and important Signor, Having recently obtained a 'Queen of Persia' of some quality, which I thought worthy of appearing before your Highness' [= Prince Philip II] exalted presence, I had her sent, pending the time when other works of mine were drying, to take embassies from me to your Highness, and be company to the landscape and [a] St. Margaret, previously sent by Ambassador [Fransesco] Vargas.. ..Most high and potent Signor's servant, who kisses your feet, Titiano Vecellio.
- In a letter to Philip II, then still Prince of Spain, sent from Venice 11th Oct. 1552; as quoted in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 218
- For the first time in the annals of Italian painting history we are informed by this letter about a painting which is nothing more than a landscape! According to reports of visitors [for instance Aurelio Luini ] of Titian's studio, he very probably painted more landscapes, but all of them are perished.
- ..I also send the picture of the 'Trinity' [also called La Gloria] .. ..in my wish to satisfy your C. M. [Caesarean Majesty] I have not spared myself the pains of striking out two or three times the work of many days to bring it to perfection and satisfy myself, whereby more time was wasted than I usually take to do such things.. ..the portrait of Signor Vargas [agent of Charles V, who was paying Titian for his works] introduced into the work [very probably in the 'La Gloria' / 'Trinity'] was done at his request. If it should not please your C.M. any painter can, with a couple of [brush] strokes, convert it into another person.
- In a letter from Venice to the Spanish emperor Charles V in Bruxelles, 10 Sept. 1554; original in the 'Appendix' of Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2., J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 231-232
- Titian is announcing in his letter the completion and the delivery of the paintings 'Trinity' and 'Addolorata' and probably a third painting 'Christ appearing to the Magdalen', for Mary of Hungary
- [I wish] to engrave and distribute [the prints] for the benefit and knowledge and use of painters and sculptors and other knowledge-able persons.
- official document, 1567; as quoted by Bruce Kohl in Titian and Venetian Painting, 1450-1590; publishers Westview Press, 1999, p. 117
- In 1567 Titian applied to the Venetian senate for a fifteen-year copyright privilege for engravings, made after his work. The Dutch artist Cornelis Cort produced prints after Titian's work, all made in collaboration, in 1555-56 and 1571-72
- He who improvises can never make a perfect line of poetry.
- As quoted in A Dictionary of Art and Artists (1959) by Peter Murray and Linda Murray, p. 321.
- It is not bright colors but good drawing that makes figures beautiful.
- As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 32.
- Not every painter has a gift for painting, in fact, many painters are disappointed when they meet with difficulties in art. 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. The painter must always seek the essence of things, always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting...
- As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 71.
- Variant: They who are compelled to paint by force, without being in the necessary mood, can produce only ungainly works, because this profession requires an unruffled temper.
- As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 72.
Quotes about Titian
Quotes by contemporaries
- He [Titian] told me he remembered that there were [already] three pictures in the fazata (wall facing the light ?) in Your Excellency's Studio; and that your Excellency had arranged that this one should be hung on the same fazata. He wishes to know whether the new canvas is to be in the middle of the others, or at one side, either towards the chapel or towards the Castello; and he promised to begin work this morning, proceeding without interruption to the close.
- In a letter of Jacomo Delli Thebaldi to Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, From Venice, April 22, 1518; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 182-183
- Jacomo Thebaldi was for years an art-agent for Titian in Venice
- We thought, that Titian, the painter, would some day finish our picture; but he seems to take no account of us whatever. We therefore instruct you to tell him instantly, that we are surprised that he should not have finished our picture; that he must finish it under all circumstances or incur our great displeasure; and he may be made to feel that he is doing an ill turn to one who can resent it. We are determined that he shall complete the work he promised : if he does not, we shall see to his doing it, and you are to advise us instantly of his resolution.
- Duke Alfonso de Ferrara, in a letter to Titian's art agent Jacomo Thebaldi, 29 September 1519; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 184
- Duke Alfonso was rather furious that Titian didn't finish his ordered painting, despite he promised to do so
- Before Christmas, Tebaldi [Titian's agent in Venice] received a letter from the Duke Alfonso, with orders to communicate the contents to Titian. "Let him know," says Alfonso, "that we have thought over the matter of the 'St. Sebastian'.. ..Let him think on the other hand of serving us well in the work which he has on hand for us, as we do not mean to burthen him with more for the present, and we have to remind him of the head which he began at our bidding before he left Ferrara." A canvas and a present of twenty-five scudi preceded the despatch of this letter, and from a reply subsequently made by Tebaldi, we ascertain that "the head" was a half length on panel which Titian had promised to enlarge so as to include "an elbow and a part of a left hand."
- Duke Alfonso to Thebaldi, from Errara, Dec. 23, 1520, as quoted by Giuseppe Campori, in: Tiziano e gli Estensi, Le Monnier, successori(IS), 1874, p. 10; transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- The body [of St. Sebastian]] is bound with one arm high up, the other low down, to a column ; the whole frame writhes in such a way as to display almost all of the back. In all parts of the person there is evidence of suffering, and all from one arrow that sticks in the middle of the body. I am no judge, because I do not understand drawing, but looking at the limbs and muscles the figure seems to me to be as natural as a corpse.
- Jacomo Thebaldi, in a letter to Duke Alfonso, c. 1521; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 252
- quote about the ordered martyred St. Sebastian; in its earliest form the figure of St. Sebastian was fastened to a pillar and not to a tree.
- Most Illustrious and best Lord Uncle, — Having asked Titian, the bearer of these presents, to execute certain work for me, he declared himself unable to serve me at present, because of a promise to do certain things for your Excellency which require time. For this reason I send him to attend your Excellency. But I beg he may be sent back at once to expedite the work I have on hand for him, which will take but a few days. As soon as he shall have done he can return to the service of your Excellency, and in this your Excellency will do me a singular pleasure to whom I stand greatly recommended.
- In a letter of Federico Gonzaga to his uncle Alfonso D'Este, Mantua, 3rd February, 1523; in Servus et Nepos', Federicus Marchio. Mantua. S.R.E. Capit. gnalis.; transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- The work to which Titian was thus pressingly invited was this portrait, to obtain which Federico spared neither flattery nor presents
- The canvas of the naked Venus sleeping in a landscape with a small Cupid, was by the hand of Zorzo da Castelfranco, but the landscape and the Cupid were finished by Titian.
- M. Tuciano [Titian] — I received the two beautiful pictures which you were pleased to send as a present to me, and am very grateful for them, not only because I was most desirous of possessing works from such skillful hands as yours, knowing as I do how clever you are in the art of painting, but because you send me portraits of two persons who were always and still are dear to me; —so like too that nature itself could not have made them more so; I therefore thank you, and shall hold these pictures dear for your sake; and you may be assured that nothing you could have done would have been more agreeable to me, or make me feel myself more under obligation. When I can I shall ever be ready to do you a pleasure, and always be disposed and inclined to consult your wishes.
- In a letter of Duke Federico II Gonzaga, from Mantua, 8th July, 1527; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 318-319
- the two portraits of Pietro Aretino and of Girolamo Adorno; both portraits were lost
- Our master Titian is quite disconsolate at the loss of his wife, who was buried yesterday. He told me that in the troubled time of her sickness he was unable to work at the portrait of the lady Cornelia or at the picture of the 'i Nude' which he is doing for our most illustrious Lord; but he thinks the latter will be a fine thing, and he hopes to finish it before the month is out. Meanwhile he desires to know how his Lordship likes the 'St. Sebastian' lately sent to him, which he admits is but an ordinary performance as compared with the nudes, and one which he only produced as an entertainment in token of the devotion which he feels for his Excellency.
- In a letter of Benedetto Agnello, 1530, to Federico Gonzaga; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 345
- Cecilia, the wife of Titian gave him his children Pomponio, Orazio, and Lavinia; he buried her on the 5th of August. The friends of his house gathered round it; one of them was Benedetto Agnello, the agent of his patron Federico Gonzaga
- It is a custom of this city [Venice] that the Prince [The Doge] when in office should do three things: procure his own likeness of life size  to be placed in a certain lunette beneath the ceiling of the Hall of Great Council, and for this Titian had a salary...
- Sansovino, in 'Cose Notabile', c. 1537, p. 47; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in “Titian his life and times - With some account of his family, chiefly from new and unpublished records”, publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 163
- Titian, now I clearly see in a new guise
My beloved idol, opening her eyes.
- Ben vegg' io, Tiziano, in forme nuove
L' idolo mio, che i begli occhi apre e gira
- Giovanni della Casa, c. 1530-40; as quoted in Lives of the Artists of Giorgio Vasari, Florence, 1568; translated by George Bull (1987), Vol. I p. 461
- a Florentine poet, in two short lines; Giovanni della Casa had commissioned a portrait by Titian of a Venetian woman whom he loved and expressed his impression in two lines
- If I were a painter I should die of despair.. ..but certain it is that Titian's pencil has waited on Titian's old age to perform its miracles.
- Pietro Aretino, from Venice, 6 July 1542, in Lettere di M. P. Aretino, ii p. 288
- Aretino, after having seen the portrait Titian made of the ten years old daughter of the wealthy Roberto Strozzini, patronizing painters and writers, then
- ..I glanced at a sky [aboven the Grand Canal in Venice where a boat-race was going on] which since the days of the creation was never more splendidly graced with lights and shadows. The air was such as an artist would like to depict who grieved that he was not Titian. The stonework of the houses, though solid, seemed artificial, the atmosphere varied from clean to leaden. The clouds above the roofs [of Venice] merged into a distance of smokey gray, the nearest blazing like suns, more distant ones glowing as molten lead dissolving at least into horizontal streaks, now greenish blue, now bluish green.. ..And as I watched the scene I exclaimed more than once, 'Oh Titian, where art thou, and why not here to realize this scene?'
- Your Titian, or rather our Titian is here [from Venice to Rome] and he tells me that he is under great obligation to you for having been the main cause of his coming hither.. ..he has already seen so many fine antiques [of Rome] that he is filled with wonder, and glad that he came.
- In a letter of Bembo Quirini to Girolamo Quirini, Patriarch of Venice; from Rome, 10 October 1545, in Opere u. s. Vol VI, p. 316; Vasari xiii 36.; as quoted in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 112-113
- also Pope Paul the Third  gave Titian a friendly welcome and Vasari was his guide, showing him the artistic treasures of Rome. Titian painted then the portraits of the Pope and his family.
- ..if this man [Titian] had been in any way assisted by art and design, as he is by nature, and above all in counterfeiting the life, no one could do more or work better, for he has a fine spirit and a very beautiful and lively manner.
- There had been a time, as Vasari truly said, when the master [Titian] finished his works with such care and minuteness that they bore inspection at any distance. At a later period his touches and brush strokes were ill suited for a close inspection, but at the focus they were perfectly effective, and so stupendously clever that the scenes appeared to be real. Three lives has Titian, one natural, one artificial, the third eternal.
- Paolo Pino, in 'Dialogo di Pittura, 8vo, Venice, 1548, p. 41; transl. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- All that Titian's figures want, is a voice; in all else they are nature itself.
- Michel Angelo Biondo, in Delia Nobilissima Pittura, Venice, 1549, Cap. 17; transl. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- ..Titian the painter is at Augsburg, whither the Emperor [Charles V] has called him, and he has constant access to his Majesty, whose health is on the whole but middling.
- In a letter of Melancthon from Wittenberg to Camerarius, c. Jan. 1550, by Ernest Voegelino in his 'Liber continens..' 8vo Lipsiae, pp. 614-615; as quoted in Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2. J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 200-201
- Titian is alive and well, and not a little pleased to know that your Majesty was inquiring for him. He took me to see [the painting] the 'Trinity' [also called La Gloria] which he promised to finish towards the end of September. It seems to me to be a fine work. Equally so a 'Christ appearing to the Magdalen' in the garden for the Serenissima Queen Mary. The other painting he says will be a 'Grieving Virgin', companion to the 'Ecce Homo' , already in possession of your Majesty, which he has not done because the size was not given, but which he will execute so soon as the particulars are sent to him.
- In a letter of Francesco Vargas to Charles V, from Venice 30 Juin 1553; original in the 'Appendix' of Titian: his life and times - With some account of his family... Vol. 2.', J. A. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, Publisher London, John Murray, 1877, p. 225
- Charles V in Bruxelles had heard rumours that Titian died, so he asked his agent Francesco Vargas in Venice about Titian and about the proceeding of the paintings which Titian was charged by the emperor, one year earlier in Augsburg
- Titian painted two pictures in the Hall of Great Council [of Venice], one of the Pope setting his foot on the neck of Barbarossa, the other of a fight ['The Battle' ] which was done [by Titian] later.
- Sansovino, in Delle Cose Notabile della Citta di Venetia, 1586, p. 35, as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times...., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 168
- Titian agreed in 1513 to paint the 'Battle' in the Hall of the Great Council. Sharp monitions reminded him in 1518, 1522 and 1537 that he must complete the work; he did in 1539. The large painting is destroyed later by fire
- On the 3rd of July 1518 Titian was called to the Salt Office [of Venice], and there curtly informed: — "that unless he [Titian] began at once or within a week to work at the canvas in the Hall of Great Council which had been neglected for so many years, and unless he should proceed to labour at it continuously till its completion, 'their magnificences ' would cause it to be painted and finished at Titian's expense". But: Awful as the threat appeared, it failed to move the painter in any way. He had orders for great altar-pieces at Ancona and Brescia, commissions from the Duke of Ferrara, etc...
- Lorenzi, u. s., p. 171. ; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in “Titian his life and times - With some account…”, publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 225
- I recollect hearing Messer Titian say when I visited his house in my childhood to learn something of painting that he had greatly improved his works after having been in Rome [in 1545-46].
- Giovanni Batista Leoni, in a letter to Francesco Montemezzano, Rome, 6 August 1589, in Lettere familiale di G. B. Leoni 8v0, Venice 1600, p. 15, in Bottari Raccolta u.s. v. p. 53
- Titian lived and worked till 1545 in Venice
'Life of Titian' by Giorgio Vasari, 1568
Quotes from 'Life of Titian' / 'Titian of Cadore', in The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, ** Giorgo Vasari, Florence, 1568
- Titian, having adorned Venice, or rather all Italy and other parts of the world, with excellent paintings, well merits to be loved and respected by artists, and is in many things to be admired and imitated also, as one who has produced, and is producing, works of infinite merit; nay, such as must endure while the memory of illustrious men shall remain.
- in Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects as translated by Mrs. Jonathan Foster (1852), p. 402
- [Titian] painted the panel for the altar of 'Saint Peter Martyr' in the church of SS Giovanni and Paolo, making the figure of the holy martyr larger than life among enormous trees in a wood, where, having fallen to the ground, he is savagely assaulted by a soldier who has wounded him in the head in such a way that his face, as he lies these half alive, shows the horror of death, while in the figure of another friar who is in flight the terror and fear of death can be recognized. In the air are two nude angels coming from a light in heaven which illuminates the unusually beautiful landscape as well as the entire work; this is the most accomplished and celebrated, the greatest and best conceived and executed of the works that Titian completed during his whole lifetime.
- as quoted in Titian and Venetian Painting, 1450-1590, Bruce Kohl; publisher Westview Press, 1999, p. 118
- Saint Peter Martyr was a thirteenth century Dominican from the city of Verona. His severe persecution of heretics caused them to finally murder him in a woods near Milan. As he died, Saint Peter forgave his killers and, with his own blood, wrote on the ground "I believe in God."
- Michelagnolo and Vasari, going one day to visit Tiziano in the Belvedere [in Rome, 1546], saw in a picture that he [Titian] had executed at that time a nude woman representing Danae, who had in her lap Jove transformed into a rain of gold; and they praised it much, as one does in the painter's presence. After they had left him, discoursing of Tiziano's method, [Michelangelo] Buonarroti commended it not a little, saying that his coloring and his manner much pleased him, but that it was a pity that in Venice men did not learn to draw well from the beginning, and that those painters did not pursue a better method in their studies.. ..And in fact this is true, for the reason that he who has not drawn much nor studied the choicest ancient and modern works, cannot work well from memory by himself or improve the things that he copies from life, giving them the grace and perfection wherein art goes beyond the scope of nature, which generally produces some parts that are not beautiful.
- as quoted in http://members.efn.org/~acd/vite/VasariTitian1.html
- This quote illustrates very well the different approach of painting by Michelangelo (Florentine tradition with focus on line) and Titian loose way of painting, without sharp borders
- ..as is also another [painting] of Diana, who, bathing in a fount with her Nymphs, transforms Actaeon into a stag.. ..He also painted Europa passing over the sea on the back of the Bull. All these pictures are in the possession of the Catholic King, held very dear for the vivacity that Tiziano has given to the figures with his colors, making them natural and as if alive. It is true, however, that the method of work which he employed in these last pictures is no little different from the method of his youth, for the reason that the early works are executed with a certain delicacy and a diligence that are incredible, and they can be seen both from near and from a distance, and these last works are executed with bold strokes and dashed off with a broad and even coarse sweep of the brush, insomuch that from near little can be seen, but from a distance they appear perfect.
- as quoted in http://members.efn.org/~acd/vite/VasariTitian1.html
- Vasari describes here very accurate the late painting style of Titian, seen from the point of the viewer
- This method [of painting by Titian] has been the reason that many, wishing to imitate him therein and to play the practised master, have painted clumsy pictures; and this happens because, although many believe that they are done without effort, in truth it is not so, and they deceive themselves, for it is known that they are painted over and over again, and that he [Titian] returned to them with his colours so many times, that the labour may be perceived. And this method, so used, is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, because it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but conceals the labor.
- as quoted in http://members.efn.org/~acd/vite/VasariTitian1.html
- When Vasari, the writer of this history, was at Venice in the year 1566, he went to visit Tiziano, as one who was much his friend, and found him at his painting with brushes in his hand, although he was very old; and he had much pleasure in seeing him and discoursing with him. He made known to Vasari Messer Gian Maria Verdezotti, a young Venetian gentleman full of talent, a friend of Tiziano and passing able in drawing and painting, as he showed in some landscapes of great beauty drawn by him. This man has by the hand of Tiziano, whom he loves and cherishes as a father, two figures painted in oils within two niches, an Apollo and a Diana.
- as quoted in http://members.efn.org/~acd/vite/VasariTitian1.html
Quotes - 17th century
- Titian was visited on a certain occasion by a company of German travelers.. ..these gentlemen declared that they only knew of one master capable of finishing as they thought paintings ought to be finished, and that was Dürer.. ..To these observations Titian smilingly replied, that if he had thought extreme finish to be the end and aim of art, he too would have fallen into the excesses of Dürer. But though long experience had taught him to prefer a broad and even track to a narrow and intricate path, yet he would still take occasion to show that the subtlest detail might be compassed without sacrifice of breadth, and so produced the 'Christ of the Tribute Money'.
- Francesco Scanelli in his II Microcosmo della Pittura, 8vo, Cesena, 1655, pp. 231-4; as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 117-118
- Scanelli had consulted an old and respectable friend of Titian, who told him this story
- In every thing Titian's art was similar to nature. Milk feeds his babes; he weaves the stuffs; by him the arms are wrought. He transfers the trees, the hills, and plains to his picture; his animals have but just issued from the ark; and his joy or grief are alike infectious. So long as Nature lives Titian will also live. He was the very mirror of nature, only that the mirror reflects whilst Titian creates.
- Boschini's, in 'Preface' of Le miniere della pittura, Venice, 1664; transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- Titian prepared his pictures with a solid stratum of pigment, which served as a bed or fundament upon which to return frequently. Some of these preparations were made with resolute strokes of a brush heavily laden with colour, the half tints struck in with pure red earth, the lights with white, modeled into relief by touches of the same brush dipped into red, black, and yellow. In this way he would give the promise of a figure in four strokes. After laying this [first] foundation he would turn the picture to the wall, and leave it there perhaps for months, turning it round again after a time to look at it carefully, and scan the parts as he would the face of his greatest enemy. If at this time any portion of it should appear to him to have been defective, he would set to work to correct it, applying remedies as a surgeon might apply them, cutting off excrescences here, superabundant flesh there, redressing an arm, adjusting or setting a limb, regardless of the pain which it might cause. In this way he would reduce the whole to a certain symmetry, put it aside, and return again a third or more times, till the first quintessence had been covered over with its padding of flesh.
- It was contrary to his habit to finish at one painting, and he used to say that a poet who improvises cannot hope to form pure verses. But of i condiments ' in the shape of last retouches he was particularly fond. Now and then he would model the light into half tint with a rub of his finger; or with a touch of his thumb he would dab a spot of dark pigment into some corner to strengthen it ; or throw in a reddish stroke—a tear of blood, so to speak—to break the parts superficially. In fact, when finishing, he painted much more with his fingers than with his brush.
Quotes - 18th century
- Titian was characterized by this, that he painted flesh in which the blood appeared to mantle, whilst the art of the painter was merged in the power of a creator. He imagined forms of grander proportions, of more shiny impast[o], of more harmonious hues than his competitors. With incomparable skill he gave tenderness to flesh by transitions of half tone and broken contrasted colours. He moderated the fire of Giorgione, whose strength lay in resolute action, fanciful movement, and a mysterious artifice in disposing shadows contrasting darkly with hot red lights, blended, strengthened, or blurred so as to produce the semblance of exuberant life.
- Antonio Zanetti, c. 1778, in 'Varie Pitture a fresco', I note to vi; as quoted in as quoted Titian his life and times - With some account..., J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle, publisher John Murray, London, 1877, pp. 91-92
- Raphael and Titian are two names which stand the highest in our art, — one for drawing, the other for painting. It is to Titian we must turn our eyes to find excellence with regard to color, and light and shade, in the highest degree. He was both the first and the greatest master of this art. By a few strokes he knew how to mark the general image and character of whatever object he attempted; and produced, by this alone, a truer representation than his master Giovanni Bellini, or any of his predecessors, who finished every hair. His great care was to express the general color, to preserve the masses of light and shade, and to give by opposition the idea of that solidity which is inseparable from natural objects. When those are preserved, though the work should possess no other merit, it will have in a proper place its complete effect; but where any of these are wanting, however minutely labored the picture may be in detail, the whole will have a false' and even an unfinished appearance, at whatever distance, or in whatever light, it can be shown.. ..This manner was then new to the world, but that unshaken truth on which it is founded has fixed it as a model to all succeeding painters; and those who will examine into the artifice will find it to consist in the power of generalizing, and in the shortness and simplicity of the means employed.
- Many artists, as Vasari likewise observes, have ignorantly imagined they are imitating the manner of Titian when they leave their colours rough, and neglect the detail: but not possessing the principles on which he wrought, they have produced what he calls goffe pitture, absurd, foolish pictures; for such will always be the consequence of affecting dexterity without science, without selection, and without fixed principles.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds, in 'The Eleventh Discourse', originally an address to the Royal Academy of Art (10 December 1782)
- Titian by a few strokes knew how to mark the general image and character of whatever objects he attempted. His great care was to preserve the masses of light and shade, and to give by opposition the idea of that solidity which is inseparable from natural objects.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds, in 'The Eleventh Discourse', originally an address to the Royal Academy of Art (10 December 1782); as quoted by J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in Titian his life and times - With some account..., publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 218
Quotes - 19th century
- It is the intense personal character which, I think, gives the superiority to Titian's portraits over all others, and stamps them with a living and permanent interest. Of other pictures you tire, if you have them constantly before you; of his, never. For other pictures have either an abstracted look, and you dismiss them, when you have made up your mind on the subject as a matter of criticism; or an heroic look, and you cannot be always straining your enthusiasm; or an insipid look, and you sicken of it. But whenever you turn to look at Titian's portraits, they appear to be looking at you; there seems to be some question pending between you, as though an intimate friend or inveterate foe were in the room with you; they exert a kind of fascinating power; and there is that exact resemblance of individual nature which is always new and always interesting, because you cannot carry away a mental abstraction of it, and you must recur to the object to revive it in its full force and integrity. I would as soon have Raphael's, or most other pictures, hanging up in a collection, that I might pay an occasional visit to them: Titian's are the only ones that I should wish to have hanging in the same room with me for company!
- William Hazlitt, in 'On a Portrait of An English Lady, by VanDyck', in Criticisms On Art (1844), p. 155
- We find the following words:— "Whether it is the human figure, and animal, or even inanimate objects, there is nothing, however unpromising in appearance, but may be raised into dignity, convey sentiment, and produce emotion, in the hands of a painter of genius. What was said of Virgil, that he threw even the dung about the ground with an air of dignity, may be applied to Titian; whatever he touched, however naturally mean, and habitually familiar, by a kind of magic he invested with grandeur and importance." —No, not by magic, but by seeking and finding in individual nature, and combined with details of every kind, that grace and grandeur and unity of effect which Sir Joshua supposes to be a mere creation of the artist's brain! Titian's practice was, I conceive, to give general appearances with individual forms and circumstances. Sir Joshua's theory goes too often, and in its prevailing bias, to separate the two things as inconsistent with each other, and thereby to destroy or bring into question that union oi striking effect with accuracy of resemblance, in which the essence of sound art (as far as relates to imitation) consists.
- William Hazlitt, in 'On Certain Inconsistencies in Sir Joshua Reynolds Discourses', in Criticisms On Art (1844), p. 66
- There is nothing strained or repulsive in his character. His letters to princes and to ministers concerning his pictures and his pensions contain that degree of humility which then denoted the savoir-vivre of a subject. He takes men well and he takes life well; that is to say, that he enjoys life like other men, without either excess or baseness. He is no rigorist; his correspondence with Aretino reveals a boon companion, eating and drinking daintily and heartily, appreciative of music, of elegant luxury, and the society of pleasure-seeking women. He is not violent, nor tormented by immeasurable and dolorous conceptions; his painting is healthy, exempt from morbid questionings and from painful complications; he paints incessantly, without turmoil of the brain and without passion during his whole life. He commenced while still a child, and his hand was naturally obedient to his mind. He declares that "his talent is a special grace from heaven;" that it is necessary to be thus endowed in order to be a good painter, for otherwise "one cannot give birth to any but imperfect works;" that in this art "genius must not be agitated." Around him beauty, taste, education, the talents of others, reflect back on him as from a mirror the brightness of his own genius.
- Hippolyte Taine, Italy: Rome and Naples; Florence and Venice (1871)
- On the 17th of November, 1520, Alfonso was induced to write to his agent Tebaldi to remind Titian of his promise, and as this letter very clearly illustrates a change of tone in the Duke's communications to the painter, it deserves to be quoted: "Messer Jacomo. Make it your business to speak with Titian and remind him that he made promises when leaving Ferrara which he has not thought fit as yet to keep. Amongst other things he said he would paint a canvas which we expect to receive, and as we do not deserve that he should fail in his duty, exhort him to proceed so that we shall not have cause to be angry with him, and let means be found to obtain our canvas immediately."
- Giuseppe Campori, in: Tiziano e gli Estensi, Le Monnier, successori(IS), 1874, p. 10; transl. J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle
- one of many illustrations of the attitude of Titian of accepting a lot of orders, so he could not finish his paintings in the agreed period.
- It was the habit of Titian to paint pictures for the places they were intended to fill, and in this he fol- lowed the traditions of all the schools. Sketching and laying in the subjects so far as he was able in his workshop at home, he took the canvas to the spot in which it was to hang, and finished it there.
- J.A.Y. Crowe & G.B. Cavalcaselle in: Titian his life and times - With some account of his family, chiefly from new and unpublished records; publisher John Murray, London, 1877, p. 174
- When Titian or Tintoret look at a human being, they see at a glance the whole of its nature, outside and in; all that it has of form, of color, of passion, or of thought; saintliness, and loveliness; fleshly body, and spiritual power; grace, or strength, or softness, or whatsoever other quality, those men will see to the full, and so paint, that, when narrower people come to look at what they have done, every one may, if he chooses, find his own special pleasure in the work. The sensualist will find sensuality in Titian; the thinker will find thought; the saint, sanctity; the colourist, colour; the anatomist, form; and yet the picture will never be a popular one in the full sense, for none of these narrower people will find their special taste so alone consulted, as that the qualities which would ensure their gratification shall be sifted or separated from others; they are checked by the presence of the other qualities which ensure the gratification of other men. Thus, Titian is not soft enough for the sensualist, — Correggio suits him better; Titian is not defined enough for the formalist, — Leonardo suits him better; Titian is not pure enough for the religionist, — Raphael suits him better; Titian is not polite enough for the man of the world,— Van Dyke suits him better; Titian is not forcible enough for the lover of the picturesque,— Rembrandt suits him better. All are great men, but of inferior stamp, and therefore Van Dyke is popular, and Rembrandt is popular, but nobody cares much at heart about Titian; only there is a strange under-current of everlasting murmur about his name which means the deep consent of all great men that he is greater than they — the consent of those who, having sat long enough at his feet, have found in that restrained harmony of his strength there are indeed depths of each balanced power more wonderful than those separate manifestations in inferior painters: that there is a softness more exquisite than Correggio's, a purity loftier than Leonardo's, a force mightier than Rembrandt's, a sanctity more solemn even than Raphael's.. ..There are three Venetians that are never separated in my mind — Titian, Veronese, and Tintoret. They all have their own unequalled gifts, and Tintoret especially has imagination and depth of soul which I think renders him indisputably the greatest man; but, equally indisputably, Titian is the greatest painter; and therefore the greatest painter who ever lived.
- John Ruskin, in Art Culture : A Hand-Book of Art Technicalities and Criticisms (1877), p. 9
- There is no greater name in Italian art — therefore no greater in art — than that of Titian. If the Venetian master does not soar as high as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, those figures so vast, so mysterious, that clouds even now gather round their heads and half veil them from our view; if he has not the divine suavity, the perfect balance, not less of spirit than of answering hand, that makes Raphael an appearance unique in art, since the palmiest days of Greece; he is wider in scope, more glowing with the life-blood of humanity, more the poet-painter of the world and the world's fairest creatures than any one of these.
- Claude Phillips, in "Earlier Works Of Titian" (1897) Introduction, p. 5
- Other Venetians may, in one or the other way, more irresistibly enlist our sympathies, or may shine out for the moment more brilliantly in some special branch of their art; yet, after all, we find ourselves invariably comparing them to Titian, not Titian to them, taking him as the standard for the measurement of even his greatest contemporaries and successors. …
He is the greatest painter of the sixteenth century, just because, being the greatest colorist of the higher order, and in legitimate mastery of the brush second to none, he makes the worthiest use of his unrivaled accomplishment, not merely to call down the applause due to supreme pictorial skill and the victory over self-set difficulties, but, above all, to give the fullest and most legitimate expression to the subjects which he presents, and through them to himself.
- Claude Phillips, in Early Work Of Titian (1897), p. 34
Quotes - 20th century
- Thus, Titian is not soft enough for the sensualist, —Correggio suits him better; Titian is not defined enough for the formalist, —Leonardo suits him better; Titian is not pure enough for the religionist, —Raphael suits him better; Titian is not polite enough for the man of the world, —Vandyke suits him him better; Titian is not forcible enough for the lover of the picturesque, —Rembrandt suits him better.
- John Ruskin in Master Painters Titian, From the works of John Ruskin'; published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, United Kingdom, 1911, p. 14-15
- Titian's supremacy above all the other Venetians, except Tintoret[to] and Veronese, consists in the firm truth of his portraiture, and more or less masterly understanding of the nature of stones, trees, men, or whatever else he took in hand to paint; so that, without some correlative understanding in the spectator, Titian's work, in its highest qualities, must be utterly dead and unappealing to him.
- John Ruskin in Master Painters Titian, From the works of John Ruskin'; published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, United Kingdom, 1911, p. 13
- This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian. [A big drawing of a rectangle] Only technical details are missing.
- Wolfgang Pauli, in a reaction to Werner Heisenberg's claim that a unified field theory had been found, but the technical details were missing, in a letter to George Gamow (1958); as quoted in Hyperspace : A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension (1995) by Michio Kaku, p. 137
Quotes - 21st century
- Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul Veronese absolutely enchanted me, for they took away all sense of subject.. ..It was the poetry of color which I felt, procreative in its nature, giving birth to a thousand things which the eye cannot see, and distinct from their cause.
- Washington Allston, as quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 20
- The Titian Foundation
- Titian's paintings
- Titian's Pieta at arthistorylessons.net
- Tiziano Vecellio at Web Gallery of Art
- Christies' sale blurb for the recently restored 'Mother and Child'
- A closer Look at the Madonna of the Rabbit
- The Early Work of Titian by Malcolm Bell,
- Titian at Panopticon Virtual Art Gallery