April 22th, 2013
IMPORTANT TITIAN EXHIBITION IN ROME
This important exhibition, curated by Giovanni C.F. Villa, opened on March 5th and will go on until June 16th at the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome.
It continues a successful series dedicated to the great masters of Venetian painting (Giovanni Bellini, Lorenzo Lotto, Jacopo Tintoretto)
It consists of forty fundamental paintings by the most famous Venetian painter of all centuries, proceeding decade by decade throughout his long and enormously successful career.
Particular attention is given to the crucial role Titian played in establishing a new ‘international’ status for the artist . No other artist before him had enjoyed such a reputation and had received so many honors at the courts of the greatest sovereigns of the time.
In fact, rather than painting for the noble Venetian families or for the powerful rulers of the Most Serene Republic, Titian, (Tiziano Vecellio in Italian) after the early successful years in Venice (where he arrived at the age of ten from his native Pieve di Cadore) sought his clients away from it, first in the Italian courts and then cross the Alps, and can be indeed considered the first painter that made an thoroughly ‘ European’ career.
At the same time, during the course of his long life (he was probably born between 1488 and 1490, and died in Venice during the plague in 1576) he never ceased to experiment new techniques and new styles, in a sort of ‘voyage through vision’ : Titian’s experimentations continued until the end of his days, as a totally independent personal experience.
In this IMPORTANT TITIAN EXHIBITION IN ROME the viewer is delighted by the perfection of his chromatic harmonies and by the enchantingly naturalistic effects of his early phase – on the wake of Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione – although Titian’s language appears from the beginning far more powerful and sensual , something that strikes immediately our mind and our eyes with a fuller sense of life.
Masterpieces of this period that can be admired at the exhibit: the radiating Flora, from the Uffizi galleries, and ‘The Concert’ from Pitti Palace in Florence.
But the artist doesn’t rest, and, on the wake of Mannerism (we mustn’t forget the presence of Giorgio Vasari, a major manneristic painter, in Venice), creates more dramatic and less equilibrated compositions, where violent contrasts of light and darkness give intense expression to color itself.
The technical, chromatic and luministic research reaches its uttermost freedom in the ‘Martyrdom of St Laurence’, a rare night scene, masterpiece of this period, present at the exhibition (arriving from Venice, Church of Jesuites). The brushstroke has become much freer now, at times very thick, making the pigment itself visible as something clinging to the canvas, endowed of a strong power of expression in itself, as in certain artists of the XX century Expressionism.
While exploring with incredible audaciousness and visual cleverness the realm of images, Titian established solid relationships with the families Gonzaga, D’Este, Farnese, Della Rovere, Montefeltro.
In the meantime he got married with Cecilia in 1525, had three children. Cecilia died in 1530 and the painter never remarried.
In 1530 Tiziano met in Bologna the future Emperor Charles V, for whom he painted a totally innovative full length portrait (now lost). He rapidly became the most important painter to the imperial court, traveled with it throughout Europe, obtaining great privileges, honors and even the title of Count Palatine in 1534.
He also became the official painter of Charles V’s son, Philip II of Spain.
Portaits you can’t miss at the Scuderie: Pope Paul III Farnese, Charles V with his dog, young Ranuccio Farnese, and of course the artist’s self portrait as an old man from El Prado. One of the few portraits of a Venetian Doge, the quite extraordinary Francesco Venier.
The last twenty years of Titian’s production see the old master settled in Venice, not as wealthy as one can imagine, continuing his visual experimentations, obtaining at times extraordinary effects, bringing the image to the limit of abstraction.
This late output has been defined by art historians as ‘Magic Impressionism’.
The profoundly dramatic ‘Flaying of Marsyas’, from Kromeritz, is the extreme virtuosism of the old master present at the exhibition.
His last canvas, ‘La Pieta’, that he painted for his own tomb, can be seen at the Accademia Galleries in Venice, but it is now on display in IMPORTANT TITIAN EXHIBITION IN ROME.
He died on August 27th, 1576, while the plague was ravaging the city, and was buried the day after in the Church of Frari, where two of his masterpieces (The Assumption and the Pala Pesaro) can be still seen today.