Famous paintings by Titian (c. 1490-1576) are among the most revered Renaissance paintings, dominating the Italian Renaissance and legendary in the history of art.
Born Tiziano Vecelli, which is anglicized to “Titian”, he was trained by Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430-1516) and Giorgione da Castelfranco (c. 1477-1510), known simply as “Giorgione”. Upon the latter’s death, Titian was the master of Venetian painting for the next fifty years, renowned for his skill with color, composition and portraiture. “The works of Titian”, comments Fred Kleiner in Gardner’s, “establish oil color on canvas as the typical medium of our pictorial tradition.”
After the death of Raphael (1483-1520), Titian became the undisputed master of portrait painting – over fifty Titian portraits survive today. Among the best known of these famous paintings is Man With a Glove.
The subject appears to be close to twenty and is dressed in current Venetian fashion, a black doublet with a pleated shirt. Against a shadowy, dark background, he leans on a block of marble with his left hand, which is grasping two gloves that point to his right hand; the V-shaped opening of his shirt draws one’s eye to his face and back again to his right hand.
Titian. Man with a Glove, c. 1519. Oil on canvas, approx. 39″ by 35″. Louvre, Paris.
Art history experts have never established the identity of the Man with a Glove. It is apparent, though, he is an aristocrat: he has coiffured hair, a ring bearing a coat of arms, and a medallion with a pearl and sapphire, in addition to his stylish clothes and leather gloves.
But his identity and name are incidental – Titian’s famous painting is a psychological portrait in which the sitter’s personality is conveyed through a palette of limited but dramatically contrasting colors.
The man, turned slightly away from the viewer, appears aloof and preoccupied, yet his eyes convey sensitivity. Again as described in Gardner’s,
“Titian’s Man with a Glove is as much the portrait of a cultivated state of mind as of a particular individual”.
The ability of Titian to create such a convincing psychological portrait has cemented his stature as one of the most famous painters in art history.
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