(c. 1488–1576)

Titian self-portrait


When very old, Titian finished one of his masterpieces, laid down his brush, and said, “I think I am beginning to learn something about painting.”

Biographical Note: 

Titian was an Italian painter who worked mainly in Venice. He painted numerous formal portraits, mythological scenes, and religious works. Many of his female subjects have hair of “Titian red,” a deep rich auburn color.

The outstanding painter of his era, Titian redefined painting and developed a style that not only determined the direction of Venetian painting for the next two centuries but profoundly influenced the work of geniuses distant in time and place, such as Rubens, Velázquez, and Rembrandt. A consummate colorist, Titian exploited the oil medium relatively recently introduced to Italy — to create effects that were quite unlike the clear, linear images of previous Florentine and Venetian painting. Modulating color and shadow through use of an unprecedented number of layered glazes, Titian created forms that are soft and glowing. Titian painting of Madonna and Child with St. Catherine His preference for diagonal emphasis in composition further broke with the classical conventions of Renaissance art and added dynamism to his canvases that presaged the complexities of Baroque painting.

More Information: 

Read a short biography of Titian.
View some of Titian's paintings.

Photo Info

Image above is “Titian Self Portrait,” (c. 1562). Oil on canvas, 96 x 75 cm, Staatliche Museum, Berlin