Titian

They who are compelled to paint by force, without being in the necessary mood, can produce only ungainly works, because this profession requires an unruffled temper.
He who improvises can never make a perfect line of poetry.

Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio (c. 1488-90 – 27 August 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory, near Belluno (Veneto), in Italy, and died in Venice

QuotesEdit

It was the poetry of color which I felt, procreative in its nature, giving birth to a thousand things which the eye cannot see, and distinct from their cause. ~ Washington Allston
Titian's practice was, I conceive, to give general appearances with individual forms and circumstances. ~ William Hazlitt
This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian … Only technical details are missing. ~ Wolfgang Pauli
Although Titian's works seem to many to have been created without much effort, this is far from the truth and those who think so are deceiving themselves. … The method he used is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, for it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but it conceals the labour that has gone into them. ~ Giorgio Vasari
  • He who improvises can never make a perfect line of poetry.
    • As quoted in A Dictionary of Art and Artists (1959) by Peter Murray and Linda Murray, p. 321
  • It is not bright colors but good drawing that makes figures beautiful.
    • As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 32
  • Not every painter has a gift for painting, in fact, many painters are disappointed when they meet with difficulties in art. Painting done under pressure by artists without the necessary talent can only give rise to formlessness, as painting is a profession that requires peace of mind. The painter must always seek the essence of things, always represent the essential characteristics and emotions of the person he is painting...
    • As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 71
    • Variant: They who are compelled to paint by force, without being in the necessary mood, can produce only ungainly works, because this profession requires an unruffled temper.
      • As quoted in The Quotable Artist (2002) by Peggy Hadden, p. 72

Quotes about TitianEdit

  • Titian, Tintoretto, and Paul Veronese absolutely enchanted me, for they took away all sense of subject. ... It was the poetry of color which I felt, procreative in its nature, giving birth to a thousand things which the eye cannot see, and distinct from their cause.
  • Titian, now I clearly see in a new guise
    My belovèd idol, opening her eyes.
    • Giovanni della Casa, Florentine poet, on a portrait he had commissioned of a Venetian woman whom he loved, as quoted in Lives of the Artists as translated by George Bull (1987), Vol. I p. 461
  • It is the intense personal character which, I think, gives the superiority to Titian's portraits over all others, and stamps them with a living and permanent interest. Of other pictures you tire, if you have them constantly before you; of his, never. For other pictures have either an abstracted look, and you dismiss them, when you have made up your mind on the subject as a matter of criticism; or an heroic look, and you cannot be always straining your enthusiasm; or an insipid look, and you sicken of it. But whenever you turn to look at Titian's portraits, they appear to be looking at you; there seems to be some question pending between you, as though an intimate friend or inveterate foe were in the room with you; they exert a kind of fascinating power; and there is that exact resemblance of individual nature which is always new and always interesting, because you cannot carry away a mental abstraction of it, and you must recur to the object to revive it in its full force and integrity. I would as soon have Raphael's, or most other pictures, hanging up in a collection, that I might pay an occasional visit to them: Titian's are the only ones that I should wish to have hanging in the same room with me for company!
    • William Hazlitt, in "On a Portrait of An English Lady, by VanDyck", in Criticisms On Art (1844), p. 155
  • We find the following words:— "Whether it is the human figure, and animal, or even inanimate objects, there is nothing, however unpromising in appearance, but may be raised into dignity, convey sentiment, and produce emotion, in the hands of a painter of genius. What was said of Virgil, that he threw even the dung about the ground with an air of dignity, may be applied to Titian; whatever he touched, however naturally mean, and habitually familiar, by a kind of magic he invested with grandeur and importance."—No, not by magic, but by seeking and finding in individual nature, and combined with details of every kind, that grace and grandeur and unity of effect which Sir Joshua supposes to be a mere creation of the artist's brain! Titian's practice was, I conceive, to give general appearances with individual forms and circumstances. Sir Joshua's theory goes too often, and in its prevailing bias, to separate the two things as inconsistent with each other, and thereby to destroy or bring into question that union oi striking effect with accuracy of resemblance, in which the essence of sound art (as far as relates to imitation) consists.
    • William Hazlitt, in "On Certain Inconsistencies in Sir Joshua Reynolds Discourses", in Criticisms On Art (1844), p. 66
  • This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian. [A big drawing of a rectangle] Only technical details are missing.
    • Wolfgang Pauli, in a reaction to Werner Heisenberg's claim that a unified field theory had been found, but the technical details were missing, in a letter to George Gamow (1958); as quoted in Hyperspace : A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension (1995) by Michio Kaku, p. 137
  • There is no greater name in Italian art — therefore no greater in art — than that of Titian. If the Venetian master does not soar as high as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, those figures so vast, so mysterious, that clouds even now gather round their heads and half veil them from our view; if he has not the divine suavity, the perfect balance, not less of spirit than of answering hand, that makes Raphael an appearance unique in art, since the palmiest days of Greece; he is wider in scope, more glowing with the life-blood of humanity, more the poet-painter of the world and the world's fairest creatures than any one of these.
  • Other Venetians may, in one or the other way, more irresistibly enlist our sympathies, or may shine out for the moment more brilliantly in some special branch of their art; yet, after all, we find ourselves invariably comparing them to Titian, not Titian to them, taking him as the standard for the measurement of even his greatest contemporaries and successors.
    He is the greatest painter of the sixteenth century, just because, being the greatest colorist of the higher order, and in legitimate mastery of the brush second to none, he makes the worthiest use of his unrivalled accomplishment, not merely to call down the applause due to supreme pictorial skill and the victory over self-set difficulties, but, above all, to give the fullest and most legitimate expression to the subjects which he presents, and through them to himself.
  • Raphael and Titian are two names which stand the highest in our art, — one for drawing, the other for painting. . It is to Titian we must turn our eyes to find excellence with regard to color, and light and shade, in the highest degree. He was both the first and the greatest master of this art. By a few strokes he knew how to mark the general image and character of whatever object he attempted; and produced, by this alone, a truer representation than his master Giovanni Bellini, or any of his predecessors, who finished every hair. His great care was to express the general color, to preserve the masses of light and shade, and to give by opposition the idea of that solidity which is inseparable from natural objects. When those are preserved, though the work should possess no other merit, it will have in a proper place its complete effect; but where any of these are wanting, however minutely labored the picture may be in detail, the whole will have a false' and even an unfinished appearance, at whatever distance, or in whatever light, it can be shown. …This manner was then new to the world, but that unshaken truth on which it is founded has fixed it as a model to all succeeding painters; and those who will examine into the artifice will find it to consist in the power of generalizing, and in the shortness and simplicity of the means employed.
    • Sir Joshua Reynolds, in "The Eleventh Discourse", originally an address to the Royal Academy of Art (10 December 1782), as quoted in The Annual Register for the Year 1782, Vol. 25 (1783) edited by Edmund Burke, p. 149
  • Many artists, as Vasari likewise observes, have ignorantly imagined they are imitating the manner of Titian when they leave their colours rough, and neglect the detail: but not possessing the principles on which he wrought, they have produced what he calls goffe pitture, absurd, foolish pictures; for such will always be the consequence of affecting dexterity without science, without selection, and without fixed principles.
    • Sir Joshua Reynolds, in "The Eleventh Discourse", originally an address to the Royal Academy of Art (10 December 1782)
  • When Titian or Tintoret look at a human being, they see at a glance the whole of its nature, outside and in; all that it has of form, of color, of passion, or of thought; saintliness, and loveliness; fleshly body, and spiritual power; grace, or strength, or softness, or whatsoever other quality, those men will see to the full, and so paint, that, when narrower people come to look at what they have done, every one may, if he chooses, find his own special pleasure in the work. The sensualist will find sensuality in Titian; the thinker will find thought; the saint, sanctity; the colourist, colour; the anatomist, form; and yet the picture will never be a popular one in the full sense, for none of these narrower people will find their special taste so alone consulted, as that the qualities which would ensure their gratification shall be sifted or separated from others; they are checked by the presence of the other qualities which ensure the gratification of other men. Thus, Titian is not soft enough for the sensualist, — Correggio suits him better; Titian is not defined enough for the formalist, — Leonardo suits him better; Titian is not pure enough for the religionist, — Raphael suits him better; Titian is not polite enough for the man of the world,— Van Dyke suits him better; Titian is not forcible enough for the lover of the picturesque,— Rembrandt suits him better. All are great men, but of inferior stamp, and therefore Van Dyke is popular, and Rembrandt is popular, but nobody cares much at heart about Titian; only there is a strange under-current of everlasting murmur about his name which means the deep consent of all great men that he is greater than they — the consent of those who, having sat long enough at his feet, have found in that restrained harmony of his strength there are indeed depths of each balanced power more wonderful than those separate manifestations in inferior painters: that there is a softness more exquisite than Correggio's, a purity loftier than Leonardo's, a force mightier than Rembrandt's, a sanctity more solemn even than Raphael's. … There are three Venetians that are never separated in my mind — Titian, Veronese, and Tintoret. They all have their own unequalled gifts, and Tintoret especially has imagination and depth of soul which I think renders him indisputably the greatest man; but, equally indisputably, Titian is the greatest painter; and therefore the greatest painter who ever lived.
    • John Ruskin , in Art Culture : A Hand-Book of Art Technicalities and Criticisms (1877), p. 9
  • There is nothing strained or repulsive in his character. His letters to princes and to ministers concerning his pictures and his pensions contain that degree of humility which then denoted the savoir-vivre of a subject. He takes men well and he takes life well; that is to say, that he enjoys life like other men, without either excess or baseness. He is no rigorist; his correspondence with Aretino reveals a boon companion, eating and drinking daintily and heartily, appreciative of music, of elegant luxury, and the society of pleasure-seeking women. He is not violent, nor tormented by immeasurable and dolorous conceptions; his painting is healthy, exempt from morbid questionings and from painful complications; he paints incessantly, without turmoil of the brain and without passion during his whole life. He commenced while still a child, and his hand was naturally obedient to his mind. He declares that "his talent is a special grace from heaven;" that it is necessary to be thus endowed in order to be a good painter, for otherwise "one cannot give birth to any but imperfect works;" that in this art "genius must not be agitated." Around him beauty, taste, education, the talents of others, reflect back on him as from a mirror the brightness of his own genius.
  • Although Titian's works seem to many to have been created without much effort, this is far from the truth and those who think so are deceiving themselves. In fact, it is clear that Titian retouched his pictures, going over them with his colours several times, so that he must obviously have taken great pains. The method he used is judicious, beautiful, and astonishing, for it makes pictures appear alive and painted with great art, but it conceals the labour that has gone into them.
  • Titian, having adorned Venice, or rather all Italy and other parts of the world, with excellent paintings, well merits to be loved and respected by artists, and is in many things to be admired and imitated also, as one who has produced, and is producing, works of infinite merit; nay, such as must endure while the memory of illustrious men shall remain.
    • Giorgio Vasari in "Titian of Cadore", in Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects as translated by Mrs. Jonathan Foster (1852), p. 402

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Last modified on 15 April 2014, at 15:13