Titian’s genius was recognised early in his career, and by the time of his death in his eighties (1576) the esteem in which he was held probably exceeded that attaching to any other living artist in previous history. Moreover, his star has never waned since, contrary to the usual pattern which sees even ‘great’ artists cast into the shadows for a while by the capricious wheel of taste.
Such was his prestige that in his maturity rarely did even the grandest of Venetian nobility manage to commission a picture from him, even though Venice was his only long-term place of residence as an adult. Only the greatest elsewhere in Italy were so honoured – the Dukes of Ferrara and Urbino, and the Pope – and, beyond the peninsula, the most powerful rulers in Europe, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II of Spain. It follows that subsequently paintings by Titian were to be found only in the most illustrious princely collections or, when the balance of financial power shifted towards the mercantile and manufacturing nations, in the national galleries only of the most prosperous powers.
Even leaving aside the 3 or 4 which are disputed, London’s National Gallery has 15 unquestioned Titians, a total exceeded only by the Prado in Madrid and the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna. There is one other on public display in London, Perseus & Andromeda in the Wallace Collection (10–15 minutes away by taxi).
Sheila Hale is author of the magisterial and much acclaimed Titian: His Life (2012), the first biographical study of the artist published since 1877. She brings to the day a lifetime’s study of Venice and of the Renaissance.
Writer and lecturer. Her book Titian: His Life & the Golden Age of Venice, published in 2012, is the first full biography of the artist in over a century. Her previous books include guidebooks to Florence and Tuscany and to Venice, Verona: An Architectural History and The Man who Lost his Language. She has contributed to a number of American and British papers including the New York Times, Connoisseur, Observer, Times Literary Supplement, and London Review of Books. She lectures regularly on aspects of the Italian Renaissance, and is a Trustee of Venice in Peril.
The National Gallery, 10.15am.
Wallace Collection, c. 5.00pm (nearest underground stations are Bond Street or Marble Arch).
£195, including morning and afternoon refreshments and lunch, donations to both collections and a taxi journey, or £170 without lunch but including morning and afternoon refreshments, donations to both collections and a taxi journey.
Maximum 14 participants.
We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days. Please put your cancellation in writing to email@example.com. We advise taking out insurance in case of cancellation and recommend that overseas clients are also covered for possible medical and repatriation costs.
'Very enjoyable and informative day.'
'The lecturer was incredibly well informed and contributed a huge amount of information about the paintings.'