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.
The day is led by Lucy Whitaker, Senior Curator of Paintings and Head of Research for the Royal Collection Trust in London.
Wallace Collection, c. 10.30am (nearest underground stations are Bond Street or Marble Arch).
The National Gallery, c. 5.00pm.
£205, including morning and afternoon refreshments and lunch, donations to both collections and a taxi journey.
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'Very enjoyable and informative day.'
'The lecturer was incredibly well informed and contributed a huge amount of information about the paintings.'