The greatest Venetian painter who ever lived, in the opinion of most distinguished critics, was Tiziano (Titian in English) Vecelli.
Titian was born at Pieve di Cadore in the Friulian Alps. The date of his birth is uncertain but is believed to be 1477. He died of the plague on August 27, 1576, when he was almost a hundred years of age. He reputedly started painting when only four years old and didn’t stop painting until he died. He trained under the great masters Bellini and Gentile, but he surpassed them in the use of color. He often depicted his models with hair in shades of a lustrous bronze. His color was so rich, so magnificent that his name came to be the accepted name of the brownish orange color — now titian. What precisely is the color titian is hard to say. It has been called a sort of red-yellow, but some say it’s a shade of reddish brown or auburn.
Color was Titian’s strong point; drawing was of secondary importance. Not many of the great painters known for their drawing skills could
match Titian in the use of color and design. «That man would have no equal if art had done as much for him as nature», Michelangelo said of him, adding, «It is a pity that in Venice they don’t learn to draw well».
Titian executed many wonderful and magnificent paintings — portraits, religious subjects, mythological works. His paintings were so aweinspiring and breathtakingly beautiful that selecting his most outstanding work would confound even the most sagacious art critic. His painting Bacchus and Ariadne in the National Gallery, London, is thought to be the best in England. In the United States his Rape of Europa, in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, is considered his masterpiece.