Old Masters Academy

Elegant Art Jokes:TITIAN—SKETCH OF HIS LIFE. Part2.

This work was afterwards destroyed by fire, but the composition has been preserved by the burin of Fontana. His next performance was his celebrated picture of St. Pietro Martire, in the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo, at Venice, which is generally regarded as his master-piece in historical paint[Pg 3]ing. This picture was carried to Paris by the French, and subsequently restored by the Allies. Notwithstanding the importance of these and other commissions, and the great reputation he had acquired, it is said, though with little probability of truth, that he received such a small remuneration for his works, that he was in actual indigence in 1530, when the praises bestowed upon him in the writings of his friend Pietro Aretino, recommended him to the notice of the Emperor Charles V., who had come to Bologna to be crowned by Pope Clement VII. Titian was invited thither, and painted the portrait of that monarch, and his principal attendants, for which he was liberally rewarded.—About this time, he was invited to the court of the Duke of Mantua, whose portrait he painted, and decorated a saloon in the palace with a series of the Twelve Cæsars, beneath which Giulio Romano afterwards painted a subject from the history of each. In 1543, Paul III. visited Ferrara, where Titian was then engaged, sat for his portrait and invited him to Rome, but previous engagements with the Duke of Urbino, obliged him to decline or defer the invitation. Having completed his undertakings for that prince, he went to Rome at the invitation of the Cardinal Farnese in 1548, where he was received with marks of great distinction. He was accommodated with apartments in the palace of the Belvidere, and painted the Pope, Paul III., a second time, whom he represented seated[Pg 4] between the Cardinal Farnese and Prince Ottavio. He also painted his famous picture of Danaë, which caused Michael Angelo to lament that Titian had not studied the antique as accurately as he had nature, in which case his works would have been inimitable, by uniting the perfection of coloring with correctness of design. It is said that the Pope was so captivated with his works that he endeavored to retain him at Rome, and offered him as an inducement the lucrative office of the Leaden Seal, then vacant by the death of Frà Sebastiano del Piombo, but he declined on account of conscientious scruples. Titian had no sooner returned from Rome to Venice, than he received so pressing an invitation from his first protector, Charles V., to visit the court of Spain, that he could no longer refuse; and he accordingly set out for Madrid, where he arrived at the beginning of 1550, and was received with extraordinary honors. After a residence of three years at Madrid, he returned to Venice, whence he was shortly afterwards invited to Inspruck, where he painted the portrait of Ferdinand, king of the Romans, his queen and children, in one picture.—Though now advanced in years, his powers continued unabated, and this group was accounted one of his best productions. He afterwards returned to Venice, where he continued to exercise his pencil to the last year of his long life.

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