Old Masters Academy

Elegant Art Jokes: TITIAN’S MANNERS.

Most writers observe that Titian had four different manners, at as many different periods of his life: first that of Bellini, somewhat stiff and hard, in which he imitated nature, according to Lanzi, with a greater precision than even Albert Durer, so that “the hairs might be numbered, the skin of the hands, the very pores of the flesh, and the reflection of objects in the pupils seen:” second, an imitation of Giorgione, more bold and full of force; Lanzi says that some of his portraits executed at this time, cannot be distinguished from those of Giorgione: third, his own inimitable style, which he practiced from about his thirtieth year, and which was the result of experience, knowledge, and judgment, beautifully natural, and finished with exquisite care: and fourth, the pictures which he painted in his old age. Sandrart says that, “at first he labored his pictures highly, and gave them a polished beauty and lustre, so as to produce their effect full as well when they were examined closely, as when viewed at a distance; but afterwards, he so managed his penciling that their greatest force and beauty appeared at a more remote view, and they pleased less when they were beheld more nearly; so that many of those artists who studied to imitate him, being misled by appearances which they did not sufficiently consider, imagined that Titian executed his works with readiness and masterly rapidity; and concluded that they should imitate his manner most effectually by a freedom of
hand and a bold pencil; whereas Titian in reality took abundance of pains to work up his pictures to so high a degree of perfection, and the freedom that appears in the handling was entirely effected by a skillful combination of labor and judgment, and a few bold, artful strokes of the pencil to conceal his labor.”

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