Titian (aka Tiziano Vecelli, Tiziano Vecellio)

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Self Portrait 1568-1571

Self Portrait 1568-1571

Born: Circa 1485
Location: Pieve di Cadore, Italy
Died: 08/27/1576
Age: 91
Movements Italian Renaissance
Nationality Italian
Expertise Painting

Titian, also known as Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, was an Italian oil painter and the most important artist of the Venetian school in the sixteenth century. His work was very influential to the Italian Renaissance and Western art.

Personal life

Tiziano Vecelli was the eldest son of Gregorio Vecelli, who was a councilor and a soldier, and his wife, Lucia. His family and many of his relatives were well established in Venice. When he was about eleven years old, he and his brother were taught painting by their uncle. They then entered the studio of Gentile Bellini, subsequently transferring to the studio of Giovanni Bellini, Gentile’s brother and an eminent Venetian artist. Titian married Cecilia in 1525. The couple had three children. His favorite among them, Orazio, later became his assistant. His wife died in August 1530 while giving birth to Lavinia, a daughter. The artist and his three children then moved to a mansion that can be found today in the Bin Grande.


One of Titian’s earliest works is believed to be a fresco of Hercules in the Morosini Palace. Virgin and Child was also among his first paintings. He then became an assistant of Giorgione, an Italian painter. However, many critics of the day already considered Titian’s work more notable. Bellini and Giorgione had a great influence on his artistic style. In 1516, Titian received his first public commission, the Assumption of the Virgin, which he painted for the high altar of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. The scale of this work and its bold combination of colors had rarely been seen in Italy. This artistic approach attracted much attention and contributed to the artist’s popularity. He continued to produce a series of extraordinary paintings. Each was better than the one he previously painted. Among these were the retable of San Domenico, the retable of Brescia, and the retable of San Niccolo, which can be found in the Vatican Museum. He continued to paint more altarpieces. His greatest altarpiece, Death of Saint Peter Martyr, was for the Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo. A fire destroyed the painting in the nineteenth century. Titian gained fame and reputation around the world because of the portraits he painted, including ones for Emperor Charles V and Pope Paul III. His portraits were remarkable because they vividly implied the status and importance of their subjects. The artist also expressed a psychological dimension in each portrait, giving each work a unique mood.

Fun Facts

  • Tiziano Vecelli also painted mythological subjects.
  • During the last twenty years of his life, he became an insatiable perfectionist.
  • He was a victim of a plague that raged in Venice.

Related Artists


Some Examples of Titian’s Artwork

The Flaying of Marsyas 1570-1575 artwork by Titian

The Flaying of Marsyas 1570-1575

Man with Glove artwork by Titian

Man with Glove

Portrait of a Noblewoman or La Bella artwork by Titian

Portrait of a Noblewoman or La Bella