Tiziano Vecellio, called Tiziano Pieve di Cadore, 1488/1490 - Venice 1576
Titian was born in Pieve di Cadore, a village in the Dolomites near Belluno. Before entering the workshop of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, he spent some years in Venice with the mosaicist Sebastiano Zuccato. The origins of his maniera are to be found in Giorgione, and the beginning of his career in the decoration of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi (1508) in Venice. In 1511 he painted the frescoes in the Scuola del Santo in Padua and only two years later he offered to paint a Battle (1513) for the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, in the Doge's Palace, in Venice (the painting, now lost, was completed only in 1538). After the Assumption for the Church of Santa Maria dei Frari (1518) Titian painted the Bacchanals, for Alfonso d'Este in Ferrara (1518-1523). In about the same period, he completed the altarpiece in Ancona (1520) and the polyptych in Brescia (1520-1522), of which the Resurrection of Christ forms the central panel. The altarpiece painted for the Pesaro family and placed on a side altar of Santa Maria dei Frari in 1526 closes the phase began with the Assumption. Unfortunately, a number of very important works of the fourth decade of the century, painted by Titian in Venice, are now lost. These include the Death of St Peter the Martyr, for the Venetian Church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (he must have prepared this work for the competition organized by the Confraternity of San Pietro Martire in 1528, not long after he visited Mantua in 1527-1528); the Votive Banner of Doge Andrea Gritti, painted for the Doge's Palace (1531) and the Annunciation, for the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, in Murano. Titian's greatest fame with his contemporaries rested on his portraits. Among the personalities he depicted are Pope Paul III (1546) and the Emperor Charles V (1548). In fact he consistently attracted patrons of the highest rank. From 1550 he worked for Philip II and continued to do so until his death in 1576. The most famous paintings still visible in Venice include San Marco enthroned and SS. Cosma and Damiano, Rocco and Sebastiano, and the Pentecost in the Church of Santa Maria della Salute; the frescoes with St. Christopher and the Virgin and Child with Angels, the Doge Antonio Grimani kneeling before Faith and with St. Mark, for the Sala delle Quattro Porte, in the Ducal Palace; the Annunciation in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco; St. John the Baptist, St. John the Almsgiver and the Pietà in the Academy Galleries; the Martyrdom of St. Laurence in the Church of the Gesuati; an Annonciation in the Church of San Salvador; St. James in the Church of San Lio.