This show focuses on a wide range of topics ranging from the fertile cultural conditions found in Venice during the third quarter of the 16th century to Titian’s patrons and colleagues (especially Sciavone, Tintoretto and Jacopo Bassano) to the figure of the artist himself. The main focus is on the last twenty-five years of Titian’s creative life, which will be viewed against the background of the master’s family circumstances, questions of inheritance, and the role of his studio assistants. In addition, the exhibition includes around fifteen sixteenth-century graphic works from the Albertina that document the overwhelming popularity of Titian’s compositions, and illustrate how his inventions were translated into a simpler pictorial language that appealed to a wider public.
Titian’s late manner with its increasingly free handling – characterised by everything from visible brushstrokes to “patchiness” (pittura di macchie) - surprised, irritated and enraged not only some of his contemporaries such as patrons, men of letters and writers on art theory, but also many modern visitors. Only recently has Titian’s late manner - which may vary greatly within a single painting - been recognised as a highly effective way of increasing the drama of the composition. The sensuality of Titian’s brushstrokes reaches a high-point in his erotic-poetic compositions in which the master focuses on the beauty of the female nude. Over the years, however, his manner becomes increasingly loaded with a
spiritual expressiveness and a mysticism of suffering that allow us to imagine the aged artist’s visions of death.
On view are examples of Titian’s most important late works such as his Nymph and Shepherd, Tarquin and Lucretia from Cambridge/England, Flaying of Marsyas from Kroměří˛, the Saint Sebastian from the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Boy with Dogs from Rotterdam, two versions of Danae (one from Vienna, the other from Madrid), as well as three versions of depictions of Venus from Washington, Rome and New York, respectively.
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